Excerpt of a speech by Dr. Mathias Döpfner, chairman and ceo, Alex Springer SE to Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum Monday, June 30, 2014, Bonn, Germany
This is a sidebar to a longer piece found at the Reynolds Journalism Institute website.
(As transcribed from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO2vJtpIQ3k )
"Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech monopolies control the world's treasury of personal data. At the moment, concerns about the improper use of personal data are still trivialized and considered to be a European strain.
“But I am absolutely certain that in the next five to seven years we will see a complete change particularly in how America values data security and privacy and that the Americans will react much radically to this emotional change than we Europeans. The same thing has happened when attitudes have changed, for example, about affirmative action . . . That means that growing sensitivity concerning data security and data misuse will -- I am convinced of this -- become a global trend, or at least characteristic of democracies. After all, only totalitarian systems want and can tolerate total transparency.
“Nowadays it is perceived differently, the issue is almost marginalized almost naively. But it can be explained. It is based on a terrible pact between a few technology giants and a huge number of consumers. And this pact goes something like this: We will provide you with our services, which are seemingly free, in return for your soul. And by your soul we mean your data. By your soul, we mean your behavior. And we can monetize and manipulate your soul and your behavior. That's the deal.
(Also see: “Technology and the Moral Dimension,” by Om Malik.
“What many people are realizing very slowly is the services which are perceived to be free of charge have a much higher price than money. Those who pay with their behavior, pay, in the end, with their freedom.
“Tech monopolies share value -- share value provides a good idea of the wealth of data. Google has a current market capitalization of more than $350 billion; at one point the Internet giant was even more expensive than Exxon-Mobil, measured in terms of stock-market value.
“Data has become the new oil. The question is who owns this data and what does he do with the data? And this is in the end a political issue and not only an economic issue.
“As always, these developments bear threats. The threat is the mis-use of data. At the same time they bear tremendous opportunities -- you can do so many great things with data. It is not necessarily negative. It is just about the question: What do we do with the data? Are there transparent and fair rules and do we -- journalists and entrepreneurs -- really shape the opportunities?