Can we stop megacorps from using and abusing our data? That ship has sailed, ex-NSA lawyer argues in new book

Can we stop megacorps from using and abusing our data? That ship has sailed, ex-NSA lawyer argues in new book

Interview Cyber Privacy: Who Has Your Data and Why You Should Care is the title of a new book from April Falcon Doss, formerly associate general counsel for intelligence law at the US National Security Agency. Doss spoke to The Register about her concerns with pervasive data collection and its potential for harm.


These days the author is chair of cybersecurity and privacy at law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Baltimore, Maryland.


Explaining why she wrote the newly published book, Doss said: "I spent years immersed in [privacy issues] and I was constantly discovering new areas of data collection, new ways in which data is being used, new concerns for individuals, and I thought, you shouldn't have to be a data expert to understand these things."


In the book she describes how cloud computing, analytics, and algorithms have changed the privacy landscape into one where near-inconceivable quantities of personal data is analysed.



I think people underestimate the ways in which their data is used to manipulate and shape their opinion, their thinking, their intentions...



Fitness wearables have "generated some 28 petabytes of data," she writes. "In today's complex data privacy environment, it's difficult for consumers to understand what they're consenting to: how their data might be collected and used by the owner of a free product or service they've signed up for, how it might be sold to others, what the impacts of cross-platform data aggregation are, and how artificial intelligence algorithms are creating behavioural prediction models about them."



Author April Falcon Doss



How aware is the general public about what is happening? "I think that people have a general ..