Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, researcher at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity College Dublin, has told a public gathering that people must become far more vigilant about the ownership of their online data.

She was speaking at a public gathering, “Data Politics, Data Markets and Internet of Things”, at the Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin this evening (Wednesday, 30 November 2016).

Dr Rachel O’Dwyer said:

“People must see themselves as data controllers. Our data is valuable and, with the rise of the Internet of Things, it will increasingly assume the value of a currency. We need to ask questions about who precisely is processing our data, who owns it, and what decisions are being made based on this ownership.

“We cannot afford to become fatalistic about this. There are major issues facing us in the years ahead around the monetisation of data, new currencies, ambient payments, and m2m transactions.

“We also need to have a public discussion about the implications of dataveillance, data discrimination, and new forms of algorithmic governance.

“I think there is a growing interest in this topic among the public. This evening’s meeting in Dublin is massively oversubscribed suggesting that people are eager to know more about the issues involved.”

The OECD has estimated that as many as 25 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020. Vast quantities of data are being produced by this emerging network of interconnected physical objects. This will have obvious benefits for transport and healthcare, but it also raises legitimate concerns about new governance structures and business models, particularly in the areas of marketing; media and games; risk and insurance; and security.

“While Internet of Things is still at a relatively early stage, it is important to explore the broader political and economic implications of the Internet of Things for citizens and users.”

The public gathering at the Science Gallery was organised by Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, researcher at the CONNECT Centre at Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Aphra Kerr, Department of Sociology in Maynooth University.

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