My coworker and I were musing about the huge Equifax breach, where 143 million Americans had their personal data exposed to hackers. We wondered if Equifax would pay a price for this loss. Then we wondered who could punish Equifax.
It’s not us, we concluded. We’re not Equifax’s customers, we’re their product!
Here’s a great perspective piece in the Washington Post which discusses how lopsided the tables are towards large corporations and against the little guys like you and me.
No wonder. To be an American consumer these days is to have become numb to signing away your rights so you can buy products and services. If you want to use a smartphone, you have to agree to give your privacy to the company that makes it, and to your Internet provider, which can see every website you visit. If you want to use email, you agree that the provider can scan your messages for certain words to sell ads. And when you sign up for financial services, you give away your rights to negotiate how your money is used or how your information is protected. The people whose Social Security numbers Equifax lost had no say in how the company acquired, uses or guards their financial information.