What the Data Privacy Movement Can Learn from the LGBTQ Community
The global battle to redefine and restore data ownership has long turned from a public debate into an activist movement. This movement can draw inspiration from other fights for personal rights, including the remarkable work and achievements of the LGBTQ community. While there’s still a long way to go, the community has managed to transform the conversation and reach impressive milestones over the years, such as promoting legal recognition for same-sex marriage, changing the military system’s approach towards openly gay members, and much more.
We have a lot to learn from this activist work on owning our narrative and living a life that reflects who we are. In honor of Pride Month, we wanted to discuss several key lessons the data ownership movement can take from the LGBTQ community.
Our entity belongs to us
LGBTQ rights may refer to public institutions, but they are also incredibly individual and personal. One of the main struggles is delivering the message that we should each get to live in our truth and define who we are. Even if we don’t wish to fall into any category at all, that is our prerogative. The LGBTQ community sends a message that who we are, our identity, and our persona is a critical matter. Pronouns, for example, are essential. Similarly, our online entity must be treated with respect and as a given right in the fight for data ownership.
On a different note, online data ownership also means that if we decide to transform our public entity at any stage by coming out, we have the right to delete, edit, and highlight our online data as we see fit. What we present to the world or leave behind should be entirely our choice.
Who should ask for permission?
Ownership over our identity isn’t something we should be asking for, and establishing basic, given rights is an important goal that many activist movements share. Instead of asking companies and regulators to make an exception when it comes to our individual rights, we have to own them.
The fight for data ownership is the fight to acknowledge and respect certain rights that weren’t always part of the conversation but should be. When we stop asking for permission to have what is rightfully ours, the debate shifts, and people begin to pay attention.
Public sentiment defines the law, not the other way around
Laws must support certain rights, but the law typically stays one step behind the public debate. Unfortunately, we can’t always wait for politicians to offer us rights; we must direct the conversation ourselves while developing alternatives to the law. Proactively driving awareness is how we end up changing the world. At Mine, we encourage this proactive state of mind by giving people everywhere a chance to manage their own data, including in places where legislators may have not yet set the proper boundaries for businesses. Fundamental individual rights should wait for no one.
The most difficult struggle is for the most obvious cause
The LGBTQ community is fighting for equal rights that should be taken for granted, like marriage, family, employment, health, and more. Similarly, declaring that our data belongs to us and that businesses should respect our data privacy is almost absurd to have to fight for, but that’s where we currently are. This perspective shift is often the hardest to create, but it is also the most critical and beneficial step.
Personal stories make all the difference
Many people who actively participate in Pride Month events have experienced the painful need for change personally or by supporting a loved one. Through these personal stories, we learn that “the other” is really ourselves, and the struggle is relevant to our world.
In the data ownership field, we learn that many people join the movement only after realizing the damage they suffer when businesses use their private information without permission. That’s how these fights become mainstream. The impact of sharing our personal experiences is massive, as it helps those around us understand how close the struggle is to them. The more we discuss individual rights openly and honestly, the better our chances of forming better experiences for future generations.
It’s easy to dismiss the connection between the two movements. But data is at the base of everything we do, and losing the battle over it might be detrimental to other movements around us. In this day and age, our digital entity is an extension of ourselves, and gaining complete control over it is fundamental. When we <nofollow>take ownership over our data<nofollow>, we take back another piece of our being and do so with pride.