First, let's think a bit about what we mean by data privacy. The data part is easy, by data we mean digital data, that is data that is captured, stored and/or manipulated by a computer (whether it is your desktop, a server, a laptop, cell phone, tablet or a digital device). The problem comes when you try to define what data an individual can claim to own.
For example, consider Facebook. Facebook gives you many options on who can see or share the posting you put on Facebook. But Facebook is a privately owned corporation. They give you access to a set of routines that provide you the ability to share or not share data that you post. Does this make it your data or is Facebook providing you with a convenient application that gives you the illusion of ownership? Why should Facebook which not only provides the service but also has to pay for its incredibly expensive infrastructure actually allow you to control "your" data. What does Facebook get out of this?
The current answer is a combination of the following:
- Facebook needs to be responsive to the needs of the majority of its members if it expects to stay in business and it appears that its members want these controls and maybe even more.
- The federal government is looking at this issue and Facebook would prefer to handle the issue of privacy without being compelled to follow any new laws that may conflict with its business model. So it hopes it can mollify concerns before they escalate and Facebook loses the amount of control it now enjoys.
- Sharing data for the purpose of providing an individual with requested services and
- Sharing data for other purposes.