Data Security: Serious Problem of Digitalization


One of the most pressing issues nowadays is data security. January 28 is known as “Data Privacy Day” every year to draw attention to this issue. January 28, which was first accepted as European Data Protection Day by the Council of Europe in 2007, was declared National Data Privacy Day in the United States shortly after. The purpose of this commemoration is to raise awareness regarding data privacy and protection for companies and individuals. Initially, it was perceived as an awareness initiative for users who share data through online platforms, and these platforms provide social networking services. The two critical main topics were the sharing of confidential and private information of users in virtual environments and the level of awareness about protecting the data collected by the platforms where this sharing occurs. However, day by day, the scope of data privacy and security has expanded much more. It has become a subject that covers almost all kinds of transactions on the network that penetrates practically every area of daily life. Considering that today, we produce the data equivalent to the total data produced throughout human history in just one or two years, the importance of emerging big data and privacy will be seen more clearly.

Data Privacy Day is not the first step towards highlighting the importance of data security and privacy at the national or international level. In many countries, laws, constitutions, or international conventions have included efforts to regulate data privacy. For example, there are laws on the protection of personal data in the European Convention on Human Rights and the constitutions of many countries. All these laws have been updated in light of technological developments for the past forty years. These legal protections surrounding digital data continue to develop today. New legal regulation initiatives for data privacy, security, and protection in cyberspace remain on the agenda. However, it is impossible to fully ensure security and privacy for the digital universe, which is developing at every moment and rapidly, with very long and slow law-making practices. For this reason, there is a need for enhanced awareness regarding data privacy and security. The way to achieve this is only possible with such initiatives and activities that will ensure the existence of more conscious, equipped, competent users and, above all, companies that respect data privacy and security.

When it comes to data security, the first thing that comes to mind is that personal data can be seized without permission and used for threats, blackmail, and theft. Passwords, personal information, financial records, or any other kind of personal data can be the target of these attacks through different methods, such as spyware and malware created by malicious hackers. Individual users and all kinds of structures that operate over the network and collect data from people, such as public institutions, banks, companies, and governmental or non-governmental organisations, can also be the target of these attacks. Constantly updated measures are taken against such attacks or security risks, and different security methods are developed. However, in the digital world, we must accept that every firewall has a vulnerability that can be hacked, and it is impossible to assume complete security. Therefore, keeping the software up-to-date, choosing strong passwords, and only interacting with trustworthy digital messages is the first protective measures to ensure our digital security. More concretely, not clicking on every message that comes to our mail or message box and every link we come across while surfing the internet is recommended as a simple method that significantly reduces security risks.

Protection from companies to which we give our data!

Everyone has some unique behavioural patterns. Especially if we have had the opportunity to get to know some of our family members, friends, colleagues, and relatives in our immediate environment and have spent enough time together, we begin knowing their behaviour with a higher level of certainty. Likewise, a behavioural routine consisting of countless decisions occurs in our daily life, such as when, what we like to do, how we prefer our coffee, and what time we go for a walk. So much so that these preferences, which repeat themselves as a habit, reflect our personality. Moreover, we have some assumptions about others, such as things they would never do or brands they dislike. All these assumptions are shaped according to the profile our retrospective mental records create about that person. Indeed, the accuracy of these judgments will increase the better we know about that person. 

Such profiling takes place much more deeply in digital environments by using every single data we produce every second when we interact with tech tools, whether connected to the internet or not. Every transaction we do is constantly recorded, such as likes, dislikes, followings, all kinds of content we consume, and how we consume. For example, how many seconds we pause while watching a movie or how many days we keep a product in our online cart before we buy. Whether we are online or not, the technological tools we use keep a diary of bits for each day. 

The technological tools, virtual environments, and the entire digital network we are surrounded by have finally penetrated almost every aspect of our lives, thanks to the numerous advantages they offer to facilitate our daily life. The way we do business touches this virtual network in almost every aspect. Today, one can carry out education, shopping, entertainment, and many leisure activities on connected technological devices. Thanks to these activities, which mean massive data production, we continue to contribute data for every millisecond we spend on these tools. Moreover, every home product, from robot vacuums to smart bulbs, collects data. Each activity or inactivity, defined as a digital footprint, is recorded and delineates the parameters of our digital identity. With such an enormous amount of data, predicting and even directing people should not be difficult since much is known about how they will act in which situation, when and what they will do.When coming together in a pattern, the separated, piecemeal, and sometimes meaningless data opens the door for the company holding the set of data to know us better than we know ourselves. Knowledge is generally accepted as a more critical power tool than money, and today, knowledge is created through collected data. From this point of view, it becomes clearer how valuable big data is and why it is on the agenda of governments, international institutions, and multinational corporations.