Centralised digital data storage poses several dangers that can have significant implications for individuals and society as a whole. The risks mentioned below highlight the need for robust data protection measures, User-centric approaches, and the exploration of decentralised alternatives to mitigate the potential harms associated with centralised data storage.
- Data breaches and cyber attacks
When large volumes of data are stored in a centralised location, it becomes an attractive target for malicious actors who seek to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information. A successful breach can result in the compromise of personal, health, and financial data, leading to identity theft, fraud (e.g. health insurance fraud), and other forms of cybercrime. Furthermore, a single breach can impact a large number of individuals, magnifying the scale of the damage and the potential for widespread harm.
When data is concentrated in the hands of a few entities or organisations, there is a higher likelihood of data misuse or exploitation. Centralised platforms may have the ability to collect and analyse vast amounts of User data without individuals’ explicit consent or knowledge, leading to potential privacy violations.
The aggregation of data in a centralised manner enables powerful entities to create detailed profiles, track User behaviour, and engage in surveillance practices. This can undermine individuals’ autonomy, limit their freedom of expression, and have broader societal implications, such as the potential for discrimination and manipulation based on data analysis.