Avoid break up; have full control of your own data

So there’s been a lot of noise on the social media platforms, news, about Elizabeth Warren’s (the democrat candidate) bold and controversial plan to break up the big tech companies – Facebook, Google and Amazon. You can read more about it here and here. She’s evangelizing her plan with the hashtag #breakupbigtech and it has went viral. Here’s a screenshot of her tweet.


Elon Musk’s response to this cracks me up.


Things have gone more wild a few hours ago when Facebook removed Warren’s ad because of a policy violation against using Facebook’s logo but apparently Facebook has restored it “in the interest of allowing robust debate”. You can read more about it here. And then Warren tweeted this:


It’s funny to see/read public’s mindshare and reactions on this, including the authorities and big shots. I saw another tweet saying we should break up the federal government. The word “break up” is being overly used!

Anyway, jokes aside, 1st thing that came into my mind when I read about this was:


As it is, we already have many multiple account IDs when we sign up to all sorts of platforms, software, applications. Yes, for some you can just login with your google ID or facebook ID but there are others that are not inter-related to Google and Facebook that require different logins for example my Malaysian Enrich account, Boost Account, LinkedIn etc. But just imagine if they want to split Amazon for Kindle and Amazon for groceries separate (for example), wouldn’t it be annoying for us to have a different login? How are they going to understand your customer journey better and give recommendations that you know (just won’t admit) it’s been useful for you? Amazon’s user experience is top notch, makes our lives easier. My husband and I were loyal customers of Amazon when we were living in Boston. If only they can bring it over to Malaysia.

I think this leads to a bigger and more important point and work/research that’s currently being done which is on “user’s control of own data”, as highlighted by Fred Wilson on his twitter and blog. A proposed solution of a problem/concern that I am seeing myself that prevents companies to leverage on customers data for better use, for example to create a product/service that is tailored to your needs. It’s a privacy issue and with the tighter GDPR and more data breaches, it heightens the concerns and wipes out public’s trust. And for the more traditional companies, they would rather stay away than trying to work around it or problem solve this issue. How are they going to innovate?

I know MIT is very serious about this. They are trying to promote “better data security and privacy, while also allowing for easier data sharing, and more robust digital identity”. You can read all the whitepapers here if you are interested. It’s publicly available. There’s a silicon valley start-up called Helios Data who is collaborating with MIT on this.

The idea is to make users have full control of their own data. So we get to decide what data can be shared, when and to whom. It is after all our own data so we should be accountable for it.

Would you want to have full control of your own data? Would you want companies asking your permission if they can use your spending patterns details as part of their new product development? Would you? If you ask me, I would, but the process has to be simple and easy enough for me.

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