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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Personal Data (It's interesting we promise)

With GDPR coming into effect on 25 May, here are three incredible facts you might not have known about your personal data.

1) Every post, share, search and risky Tweet is a goldmine for online advertising

That vintage pole of scaffolding from Watford’s first ever service station, that quarter-life crisis 3am flight comparison to ‘Anywhere’ and that heart-dropping moment of anxiety when you wonder “is kale a superfood or is everyone lying to me?”

Whatever you search for online, all of your questions and information are being collated, observed and mostly monetised by large corporations.

So, in exchange for the information of your panicked 3am flight-search, the next time you log onto social media you may be curiously offered a £17.99 deal to the Isle of Man which has been targeted to you because you’ve recently searched for mini-breaks and male grooming.

The more information we supply online, the more our digital selves are studied in the pixelated world – and, as such, our experiences and advertisements are tailored to who we are and what we like.

In the UK alone, online advertising generates over £10bn of revenue. That’s enough to buy most of Plymouth and turn it into a trampoline park. When it comes to online advertising, the possibilities are endless (unless you turn off your mobile device).

2) Everything is brand new and nothing and no-one existed three years ago

Well, that’s not strictly true. It’s more the fact that, in the last three years, more than 90% of the world’s data has been created, according to Mozilla Foundation.

Through all of our online habits, searches and shops we’ve managed to make up the vast majority of the planet’s data.

Over the last three years there has been over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, according to IBM, with the numbers set to dramatically increase in the future.

Off the back of this unprecedented data creation there has also been an explosive growth in profits for companies that can utilise our data.

It’s evident that together we are building a future and archiving the past in a way that’s never been seen before.

3) Technological advancements are increasing and I still feel the same

According to InfoTrends, around 85% of all photos are now taken on smartphones.

Long gone are childhood days sitting meticulously sketching your family at the sea side or sending off a roll of film in the post and waiting expectantly to discover if you left the lens cap on.

Now, everything is in the palm of your hand and easily accessible at the touch of a button or an ‘OK’ at a voice activated device.

By 2020, it’s predicted 30% of our interaction with the web will be done without using a screen, relying on voice activated AI to tell us what the weather is like outside or how Velcro was invented (look it up, it’s great).

In 2018 only 0.5% of all data is analysed and used. That gives a huge amount of scope for the remaining 99.5%. There’s a discussion taking place at the moment about the ability to ‘donate your data’.

If we have all of this information, that is currently only being used by large corporations, could we not start to have control over our data and where it goes?

It may not be implausible that in the near future we could donate our data to help services such as the NHS and humanitarian / scientific research.

By 2020 we’ll have over 6.1 billion smartphone users – each InstaChatting and FaceTweeting their data across the globe.

Humanity is more connected than ever before, and our digital selves are trailblazing the new way in which we interact with technology and use our personal information.

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