It’s a troubling question and most of us probably don’t know the answer. Most of us probably don’t know just how much of information about us can be found online, so what can we do to manage our digital footprint and what are the implications of having our data available online? The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas are here to find out with the help of Nicola Osborne from the University of Edinburgh.
A fascinating discussion that could go on well beyond its hour long time limit
Osborne is an excellent speaker, making sure to keep the technical jargon to a minimum to ensure the audience is engaged and can contribute to the conversation. This is one of the defining features of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, it may invite academics but it is definitely not a lecture theatre, they encourage questions, conversations and the exchange of ideas so that we can find more answers and more questions. With a topic as vast as the internet the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas is the ideal forum to find out where our data can emerge from (the Electoral Register may have already made your address available to find online for starters) and the potential benefits and disadvantages of sharing our data. Osborne is also clever enough to avoid some of the tabloid scaremongering that could dominate a conversation such as this and reveals a collection of hidden gems and curiosities, for example the NHS has been exploring how to use digital data to better diagnose and predict future illnesses and ailments in patients. However it’s far from a one-sided argument with Osborne herself noting the flaws and potential issues with the examples she provides, if your medical data were to be made accessible then health insurance companies could massively abuse that power. No one in the audience ever said it was an easy issue to debate, after all the internet is still incredibly young and experiencing huge changes with each new technological development.
It’s a fascinating discussion that could go on well beyond its hour long time limit and in an age where the internet will become ever more prevalent in everyday life, Osborne’s talk should be taken to every school in the country so everyone knows what they’re dealing with. After all, the internet is a tool that can be used for good and bad so it’s up to us to know how to use it.