Okay, many of us are aware of how everything we touch becomes junk and that we’re making more of it. I was unaware that space is becoming a dangerous junk yard. But in the past few days I became aware of data junk. It led me to start thinking about the problem of the many pieces of data we generate.
Let me give you an example: Trying to be a good patient, I signed up for a medication reminder on the American Heart Association to text me reminders on my cell phone. Great idea! But websites change things, some things are added, some removed but the data and often the servers remain so I get medication reminders for drugs I’m no longer taking. There’s no way to delete the reminders.
You fill out a login to get to a web site, where does the data go? How long does it get retained? Is it still correct? Is it erroneous to begin with? Where does it go? Is it covered by privacy laws? How does the company handle, protect data, what do they do if the data is stolen?
And sadly, ethical companies take their data responsibilities seriously and regularly back up and archive the data over and over again. So what happens when that data is accessed illegally and permeates the data space and becomes fact?
One example I’ve suffered from recently is visiting nurse agencies. Because, I’ve been in pain for a long time and can’t take most pain medications, moving me around causes me pain and I sometimes yell. VNAs do not like patients like me and make notes of what a difficult patient I am. Some how new VNAs get to look at these files without my permission and so signing on a new VNA is really difficult and they insinuate their way into my medical records at a local ER.
I’ve even gotten print ads for conditions that were transient and not really an active condition.
So beware junk data is growing and will affect you.