Investors are heavily entrenched in building and growing the Stalker Economy. Is it an ethical industry?

We all know that we are living in the post-industrial society, aka the “information society”. The information we were talking about was anything from information on stock prices, consumer surveys, commodity trading prices and volumes, and so on.

But something very significant have happened. The most valuable information category is rapidly becoming personal, sensitive and private information.

In fact, entrepreneurs together with investors have created a whole new economy on the basis of this sensitive information. We are using the term ‘STALKER ECONOMY’ because the whole idea is that the players collect, combine and analyze all the information that our “always on” gadgets are leaving behind, without the user being fully aware of the implications.

Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, etc. are making revenue solely by selling information about you. Under the mantra of “improving the service” they ask for unreasonable access to sensitive personal information. They don’t give you a choice, because it is “take it or leave it”, they make terms difficult (impossible) to read and understand, they push updates and turn back the privacy settings to their advantage without even telling you straight up. They combine the data in ways you cannot foresee, sell it to “partners” you don’t know who is. The data is stored more or less for ever – you can’t escape.

But, it is not only these companies, there is a vast undergrowth of companies that you never see, have not heard about or accepted to interact with that forms part of this stalker economy. Have you heard about TapAd? Or Cxence or Enreach? Most likely not. But they do follow you, compiling information from your devices, what IP addresses (the device geographical location) these devices are used from, what other devices uses the same IP address, what Web-pages are visited, what actions are taken, etc. This is re-packaged and sold to anyone that will pay. The information may travel a long way, and end up with criminals as well.

Now, is this an ethical business? The answer must, when any reasonable standard is applied, be NO!

So is it conceivable that some leading investment firm would say, – this is bad, it is not what we set out to do, it has gone too far, we need to redefine the business model – it is not sustainable. The era of Privacy is coming, let us help it emerge. Let us be ethical and responsible. Let’s lead the way!

Do you think there is hope? Maybe too much is invested in the stalker economy by these investment firms for any of them change – but at we try to influence the future in this direction.