Online consent is the process for allowing people to determine what personal data they are willing to share. It has become so important because of the legal requirement for websites or applications to obtain user consent before collecting data while using their services.

According to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), consent is one of six lawful bases to process customer data

  1. Consent – The consent of data subject to processing of his/her personal data.
  2. Legitimate Interest – There should be a measurable and balanced legitimate interest where processing is needed and the interest is not overridden by others.
  3. Public Interest – Public authorities and organisations in the scope of public duties and interest.
  4. Contractual Mandate – Processing is needed in order to enter or perform a contract.
  5. Legal Obligation – The controller is obliged to process personal data for legal obligation.
  6. Vital Interest – It is vital that specific data are processed or matters of life and death.

Changing Consent :

Nowadays, engagements, divorces and baby bumps are announced on social media. Many of us are going official on social networks declaring relationship statuses, expressing opinions, confessing mistakes and announcing sexual identities, which was uncommon a decade ago.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world where we are treasured by the number of likes for a piece of content posted online and we are giving consent online in the form of box-ticking exercise.

Consent for children:

Most parents allow their children to take ownership of decisions they make online while our draft privacy bill classifies all people below the age of 18 as children and verification of the child’s age along with consent of parents is a must.

Some important consideration while discussing around consent for children are (a) Attempts to recognise children’s right to privacy (b) We need to define what is (i) interpersonal privacy – How data is created, accessed and multiplied. (ii) Institutional privacy – How private, government institutions gather our information and (iii) commercial privacy – How our personal data is processed for business purposes.

Decisions and practices are influenced by our surrounding social environment, but we should be able to teach our children negotiate sharing of personal information in a networked environment and keep them informed the best practices. We need to teach them how to balance privacy and consent and this only comes from teaching them internet ethics and digital wellbeing.

Negative side of consent :

  1. Micro Chipped: Register for school, Pay for things, Open security doors, Log in to devices and no need prove who you are
  2. Fitness: A device for everyone to wear that tracks your movements and how active you are.
  3. Social CV: No need to apply for university, jobs or apprenticeships ever again.
  4. Tailor Made Shopping: All your shopping habits and appearance data stored (height, weight, shape, tastes, skin colour etc)
  5. Caring Devices: Your devices talk to each other and let you do and make eat what you don’t want

Positive side of consent:

  1. Micro Chipped: Register for school, Pay for things, Open security doors, Log in to devices and no need prove who you are
  2. Fitness: The more active you are the cheaper your healthcare, health insurance is and gym membership is.
  3. Social CV: Your social media and the reviews people give when they meet you would be used instead.
  4. Tailor Made Shopping: Fitting rooms can then bring you clothes in your size, that will suit you in the styles you like
  5. Caring Devices: Your devices talk to each other and track how much you are using them and what you are doing to make sure you are living a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Conclusion:

Consent and privacy are the most important as organisations are collecting information from online users as this may lead to endless surveillance capabilities. It is important that we prioritise protecting the privacy and consent of all people, irrespective of where they reside and operate. Consent and privacy have to be recognised as a fundamental right and a comprehensive privacy policy having more focus on consent is the need of the hour.

Stay tuned to Cyber Talk for more on internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla of End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org

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