Actions that people would NEVER do in a non-digital world are today built into the tools they depend on every day.

Consider this question from an article about “Technological Sovereignty? Democracy, Data and Governance in the Digital Era”

Can a citizen decide individually to share his or her data, when it contains the data of other individuals? If a person freely and sovereignly decides to install an application on their mobile phone that captures data, what becomes of the decision-making capacity of the people on their contacts list, whose data is immediately transferred to a third party? Managing the collective aspect of the social impact of technology escapes the notion of sovereignty.”

The unseen rudeness of WhatsApp and Telegram users /img/the-evil-smartphone.jpg

That question is about any app or Web service (e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn) that, just because it can, asks you to copy your full digital address book, so it can offer you a better, but optional service. Now, on Facebook or LinkedIn you can decide to not share your address book, and still get a good service. Services so DUMB to use phone numbers as account names, instead, cannot function at all without making you flush down the drain the “decision-making capacity of everybody on your contacts list”. Especially those who may not want at all their phone number shared with certain companies.

How many people would be offended, or just laugh, if they received a handwritten letter from their phone company saying “to get a discount, just send us a photocopy of your whole address book”? Yet the same people do exactly the same thing when they use application like WhatsApp or Telegram.

As the sovereignty article says:

“Sovereignty allows the expression of individual opinions that, once aggregated, determine political futures. In the world of data [this decision-making capacity] opens the door to terribly harmful data relations.”

The unseen rudeness of WhatsApp and Telegram users /img/gemma-galdon-on-other-people-data.jpg
How would you answer if the data to share was your old address book?