Of all of the tech we hear about contributing to the global climate crises, we often overlook the actual impact of data tracking. In reality, the carbon footprint created by our need to collect, track, store, and use data is large enough to be a significant factor in the growing problem of climate change.
In addition to the role of physical data centers (which are used by industries outside of data brokering as well), there are several other big data generated culprits that greatly contribute to the use of global energy.
These generally include (but are definitely not limited to):
Data tracking has become a normalized part of our tech landscape. However, addressing this as a problem for both consumer privacy and the environment is essential to improving quality of life in several ways.
Reducing our dependence on consumer data will generate the added benefit of improving global energy efficiency.
Enabling data privacy interrupts the flow, tracking, and use of information between networks and slows the demand for data, since much of what is collected offers a poor ROI for data brokers and users.
For example: Cloaked allows a person to create a new identity for an account. In doing so, the person generates an email address and phone number that cannot otherwise be tied to their identifiable data. Since that information is tied only to that website or merchant, it removes the basis to sell, track, or transfer that data.
Data brokers may try to collect this information, but because they want the most up-to-date personal data possible, it becomes obsolete as soon as the person creates another identity that pollutes their data pool. Or, the pieces of that new identity are not usable across multiple platforms. By disassociating detailed data with specific consumers, we cut data brokers off at the legs - forcing them to adopt a more consensual and climate considerate methodology.
While we’re aware that big data will always try and find a way to harvest and track information, we can (as individuals and innovators) push them to use more ethical and environmentally friendly tactics. Consent remains at the center of the data for profit controversy, and is a concept that has recently revolutionized online activity.
We’ve seen it with cookie banners, more frequent opt-in/opt-out choices, and new legislation moving towards more privacy-conscious legal requirements. Introducing data collection consent reduces the energy needed to continuously attempt to harvest consumer data that may or may not prove useful.
The global reliance on data is causing a global drain on energy - and decreasing the appetite for data will have a profound impact on the progression of climate change.
Ready to start taking control of your personal data? Click here to get started with Cloaked today.