Data consent, the process of obtaining permission from individuals to collect, store, and use their personal information, is challenging and sometimes impractical due to various factors.
- Complexity: People often encounter lengthy, complicated, and jargon-filled privacy policies, which can be hard to understand. As a result, they may provide consent without fully comprehending the implications.
- Power imbalance: Many services are indispensable in today’s world (e.g., email, social media, banking). Users may feel compelled to consent to data collection to access these services, even if they prefer not to share their data.
- Informed consent: It is not easy to ensure individuals genuinely understand the potential uses and consequences of sharing their data. For example, the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed how data collected for one purpose (personality quizzes) was used for another (political targeting) without users’ knowledge.
- Data aggregation: Data consent becomes even more complex when third parties are involved. For instance, data brokers often buy and sell information from multiple sources, making it nearly impossible for users to track and control how their data is used.
- Evolving technology: Rapid advancements in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence make it challenging to anticipate future uses of personal data, which current consent agreements may not cover.