Since the age of computers started, firms began accumulating data. After about a decade, companies had enough data about consumers, individuals, organizations that they started to make business cases out of it. With the pervasive use of the internet which gives us constant connectivity with others, big data analytics has led to the creation of personalized services. From news, emails, food recommendations, transportation, work and in many other areas, we get influenced by algorithms that try to veer us toward particular providers. In the end, it becomes money matters. Human data is bought and sold, which is used to control their behavior.
Google was just a search engine, which branched itself out into email, storage, navigation, social media, and many other services, all of which accumulate data. A significant number of people got hooked to google. Google has so much data about use, habits, consumption, health that it can sell anything using intelligent product placement algorithms.
Facebook also collected an immense amount of data which it uses to provide services, recommendations and advertisement based on inclusion and exclusion based on data it has. It can target people based on belief, skin color, income level, gender, location, and other criteria. Uber is also collecting data about consumer behavior. Having consumer data can have a tremendous impact on competition in a particular industry and might promote monopoly or oligopoly with no tolerance for something even more disruptive.
Questions come up about ethics and fair use of individual data. Discrimination in any form was never the goal of humans. We vie for a society with equal opportunities for everyone. It is a high time to put regulations in place to control usage of individual data and also encourage competition. User data should not be proprietary of different firms. The government should try to implement data vaults where open source data should be public. There should be fair competition among industry participants, and none should get an undue advantage due to data.