If you listen to the news or even casually follow some tech blogs or Facebook pages, you will be aware of one trend for sure. And that is the scandals about the ethics and how big tech companies use the data of their customers for purposes other than it is intended for. You may also hear and watch all that constructive measures by such companies about how to establish concrete practices in this concern. But there is a wide gap in terms of what is being done and what is ground reality.
Do you know the infamous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal? It is considered the watershed moment in how the public understanding of personal data and privacy started to grow. In early 2018, after the wake of this incident, Facebook’s shares nose-dived with a record 120 billion wiped off its stock value in a single day! Everyone within the industry thought that it would pave the way for some drastic measures by all the tech giants, too, but still, after nearly two years, that is not the case.
Who Else is Indulged in?
It is not just Facebook who is involved in unethical practices for the last several years. There are many companies which are involved in outrightly selling the data of their customers or reveal their sensitive/private information like phone number and credit card details.Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are some of the biggest companies in this concern.
While there are many things that you need to know here in this regard, the ethical dilemma of these companies is what I want you to read about.
The Background for this Issue
The dilemma for companies using the data of their customers for unfair means is that they think that there is so much competition, and to succeed, they can’t win through fair means. This isn’t true for all the companies but majority of them. So, if there is no privacy at all, how can we all survive and what is the future of everything. There are
There is a fine line between what they deem as illegal and unethical to what they think is right as they are offering free services to the end-users. But can they justify this by violating our privacy? There are varied reasons, arguments and conclusions about theseare different factors involved here. The real situation may not be what it seems There are many things that you need to know here for full grasp of this subject.
Let me start by taking on a profits margin.
High Profits for our Privacy Violations?
To get higher profits is one of the justifications that companies have for violating our privacy. Companies argue that in the face of cutthroat competition, there is an absolute need for applying whichever policy, which can reap good benefits. The price for sensitive data of anyone, especially those who shop online a lot or are high net-worth individuals can be great. That’s why there are huge profit margins for tech giants like Google and Microsoft.
Of course, not the complete profit margin for all of the companies is illegal. For some, it is only the fraction, but for some companies even that fraction can translate into millions of dollars every month. For companies not being able to earn even a million-dollar annually, even a few thousand dollars monthly can be a big sum at the end of the year.
But is this ethically correct? This is what you need to know here and what I am about to discussnow.
While most of you may think that there may be no dilemma at all for these companies as they are raking up billions, and not many people stand against their practices. But deep down all companies know that what they are doing is not cent percent correct. And when they are hit by billions of dollars of fine, they realize it even better.
The fine on YouTube against alleged violation of a children’s privacy law was a big blow to YouTube. Eventually, Google, the parent company of YouTube, had to pay the fine of 170 million dollars in September 2019. That paved the way for more such fines in the future for any company. There are many aspects that this fine is being termed as a watershed moment for the entire tech sector. If you think that it is all about money, it isn’t. Read on for more information.
Ethical Dilemma. What Can Happen in the Future?
The ethical dilemma for companies is great in terms of making things possible for you. There are many things that you need to think about companies. Big tech companies run on a huge level. There are many aspects like the use of Task management software, CRM, HRMS, etc. that they need to think of. But the ethical dilemma about using people’s private and sensitive data is something different.
Big tech companies are also run by people like us. While they have to follow the orders of the top management or CEO/MD, virtually everyone being involved in the practice at least think about why they are doing it. For example, when they handover the sensitive data of their customers to a marketing company or third party involved in consultancy, they must have thought about what they are doing.
Talking about human psychology, there is always the guilt factor involved when people indulge in illegal or unethical practices. And this guilt cantranslate into something much bigger as many people in a company are prone to this. With the regulators and governments’ fines and restrictions looming large, companies do think of avoiding these practices for good. That’s why the future looks promising for the general public as, at least, the rate of indulging in some practices for companies will start to come down rather than go up.
Over to you
If you want to add something valuable to this blog, you are more than welcome. And some of my readers would want to ask some questions too. Either way, please use the comments section below.