East African Federation bans the sale of personal data. But you might not like their alternative.

data privacy

Image by robjewitt, Creative Commons

In an effort to weaken the political and economic power of giant, international tech firms, the East African Federation has banned the sale and hoarding of the personal data of its citizens. The new law requires that the personal data of EAF citizens held by any company or organization must be made publicly available. In order to facilitate this, the EAF has also established a database which will collect the data and provide open and free access to it.

General Secretary Imari Kensisi said, “Access to good data is an essential of modern life. It is as important as clean water, clean air and clean electricity. By eliminating outdated privacy laws and making personal data universally available, we are taking data out of the greedy grasp of multinational technology corporations and freeing it up for use by everyone. Foreign neo-colonialists can no longer exploit our people with their own data.”

The stock prices of major tech firms fell precipitously at the news. Investors fear that free access to personal data will fatally undermine the profitability of most social media and other data-mining companies, especially as several other pillars of the African Economic Community and a number of Central Asian governments seem certain to follow the EAF’s example.

General Secretary Kensisi acknowledged that some older citizens will need help adjusting to the new, public datasphere. “However,” she added, “we are already seeing an economic, social and cultural boon for our region, as our entrepreneurs, researchers and artists work together to find new uses for our data.”

(This news article was uncovered by County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Art researchers working on their time capsule project. The article is dated 8 June, 2084.)

2 thoughts on “East African Federation bans the sale of personal data. But you might not like their alternative.

  1. Selling Personal Data actually very intriguing, but publicly release the data will of course reduce the quantity and quality of the data itself. If you are the seller itself, then how you do it?, the better version of the publicly available data will produced.

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    1. That’s precisely the reason I wrote this story, to suggest one way that future generations may seek to undermine the hold that giant tech firms have over our personal data. I think it’s very possible that, in another 50-60 years, people will have very different notions of privacy than we do now.

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