I switched on my TV which has Freeview and turned to London Live (channel 8) and a notice came up on the screen about how I was giving my data anonymously as part of a panel. Well, just before it flashed off I noticed the name TV Panel, googled it and found a way to remove myself from the panel by pressing the yellow button on my remote.
This came on the same day that I had been intrigued by a report on the BBC website about What3Words.
What3Words may have a great side to it, and certainly more to recommend it than TV Panel. For a start, if I understand this right you are on TV Panel until you opt out whereas with What3Words you have to opt in. Also, with the latter you may save your life! Whereas, I believe, with TV Panel the benefits are somewhat less significant, Mainly just helping advertisers target you more accurately.
The reason I mention the two instances in conjunction is that we are living in a time of weighing up security with convenience, privacy with effectiveness and so on. The fact that the data is anonymous is reassuring and the mantra, as we all know, runs ‘if you have nothing to hide what have you got to worry about?’. There is however a nagging doubt. After all, the likes of Adobe, Kickstarter and Linkedin have all been hacked in the past. So, whatever the intentions of the person/organisation gathering your data there may still be a possibility it gets in unwelcome hands.
That said, I fear that I may be somewhat of a hypocrite. I run adsense ads on some of my websites and although I use the controls available to stop showing many ad categories with which I am not comfortable, I am still aware that, although I am not gathering data, Google, in effect is doing so on my behalf is.
However, what is a small scale webmaster who isn’t selling product to do? There are very few choices apart from advertising of keeping the site free to access. I have made a judgement that the good outweighs the harm. Maybe, that’s what TV Panel do as well. Maybe, it’s just up as consumers to us to take more care of what data we are prepared to give up.