FYI: the new politics of personal information argues that individuals do not have enough influence over how personal information is used, and that we need to reconnect the everyday experience of giving away our details with the longer-term consequences.
We live in a surveillance society. But the fault does not lie only with some Big Brother. In our everyday lives we leave a 'footprint' of personal information: details about where we go, whom we are friends with, the things we buy and the culture we enjoy. And from more personal services to the many new ways to communicate with and learn about each other, we are keen for the benefits this openness affords. Information about ourselves offers us a power to define who we are.
But there is a tension at the heart of this surveillance society. Our information is increasingly relied upon by the public and private sector to make important judgements about people. And there is now more opportunity than ever for those decisions to be made without our consent or involvement. Those decisions will ultimately influence our futures in fundamental ways, from the kinds of services we are offered or are entitled to, or our desire for a realm of privacy, through to our ability to secure credit.
Personal information can be interpreted and used long after the everyday interactions it originated from. We need to make sure that people have more influence over and confidence in not just how secure their personal information is, but also in the way it is given away, shared and used.
With a range of recommendations aimed at individuals, businesses and government, FYI sets out a new framework to put individuals at the centre of the information flows and the decisions that govern them.