Towards a digital citizenship: how do we manage our data?

The continuous technological progress requires continuous renewals for “digital citizenship”, to protect their rights and personal data which too often risk falling into the wrong hands.
Continuously, large companies operating in the tech sector are required to manage and access personal data in order to offer full transparency regarding their use, through well-known informed consent.

In a broad discussion that has now taken on an international level, the European Union has prepared a new regulatory tool, the GDPR, which is actually changing the way big tech works in the field of personal data, giving users the opportunity to have the highest possible levels of privacy.

It is not surprising in this sense that many big tech companies have put the adoption of more advanced privacy preservation models at the center of their agenda, and that the protection of privacy is increasingly becoming a specific value proposition for users. Nor is it surprising that, in the last few hours, the adoption of a new decentralized data management architecture based on solutions already adopted by Google and Apple is emerging, precisely for the Immuni app.
It can probably be said that the coronavirus emergency may lend itself to reflections on the topic of data, on the opportunities that technology offers and on what critical issues still exist in this regard.

On the one hand, in fact, more and more advanced artificial intelligence algorithms are able to extract increasingly accurate information and predictions based on the analysis of huge amounts of data (it remains true that the algorithms are as accurate as the quality and quantity of the databases used to “train” them).
On the other hand, innovative systems are being developed to allow the training of algorithms in distributed architectures: increasingly refined models of distributed or federated learning allow to develop and “educate” algorithms on distributed databases, without therefore requiring their centralization in a single database.

Naturally, at the same time, the already excellent data preservation techniques by the technology giants are constantly developing.
Returning to tracking applications, it becomes increasingly clear that citizens’ lives now rotate between the real world and the digital world. In the midst of these two realities, there is our own digital identity, composed mostly of data, our digital footprint.
The awareness in the citizens of the existence of this entity, of its importance, will have to become central in the civic education of each person, since digital is no longer a component related to leisure or to a few limited spheres of life, but -and not to address a thinking about Industry 4.0 would be impossible- a founding part of everyone’s existence.