Kin Lane

I Do Not Own Kin Lane

Audrey said something profound the other day which stuck with me. As we were talking about data and data ownership, she stated that, “I do not own me”—-pushing back on a common narrative around data ownership. Highlighting that conversations around the ownership of data are merely a dispossession vehicle for getting us to buy into concepts that you can own people. Muddying the water, and ultimately helping reducing humans to transactions. A photo taken by me or of me is not owned by me. It is me. There is no ownership of my physical or digital self. There is only me. I do not care if you’ve managed to digitally reduce a piece of me to a transaction, it is still me.

Ownership of anything is fraught from the beginning. Ownership of people is definitely a huge problem. However, for some reason, just because we’ve allowed ourselves to dispossess daily from our digital bits, we would entertain the fact that we own our bits, or worse that someone else actually owns our bits. There are so many disconnects in this new online environment it can be very hard to know where we begin. I like to begin with the notion that what we do online somehow isn’t us. I can talk to my friends in real life, and this is me, and I’m entitled to some privacy. However, when I talk to the same friends online via Facebook this somehow isn’t me, I’m not entitled to privacy, and somehow many people will also entertain that Facebook “owns” this engagement. Could you imagine Facebook laying claim to owning conversations with my friends on my patio?

I think this is the the biggest reason we are blind to what is happening online, because we’ve allowed for ourselves to be disconnected, and dispossessed once we go online. Why is that not me online? Technologists have convinced us or refused to discuss in depth, that when we go online we are now disembodied and somehow this isn’t us anymore. That it is you doing things online, but the results of those actions are not you. Why? Why isn’t that photo of me, me? Why isn’t that video of me, me? Why isn’t the history of me taking, uploading, managing that photo or video online me? Aren’t I entitled to privacy and respect when I take and manage photos and videos in my home, but as soon as I inject the web into the equation, I am giving up any notion of privacy and respect, even though I am still in my own home?

You can’t own my location. You can’t own my thoughts even though I am writing them into a web-base notebook. You can’t own the deltas between each time I come online. You can’t own when I purchase a new shirt, or eat out at a restaurant. It is me at the location, writing my thoughts, buying a shirt, and eating a restaurant. Why isn’t it me once these “data points” enter the realm of the web? Why aren’t these data points me? Why are they dispossessed? Why am I dispossessed? Let alone, why are these data points being bought and sold in online marketplaces without my consent. Why do I not have a voice over these bits of me that are harvested in online environments? Why has the web been able to remove these pieces of me, and make them something that is seen as a valuable raw material online?

I have a lot of questions. I do not own Kin Lane. It is simply me. Corporations do not own Kin Lane. It is simple me. Just because I go online doesn’t change me being me. Just because I go into a restaurant doesn’t give the owners full control over everything about my experience—sharing the time, location, what I ate, who I was with, and every other detail with whoever they please. Why is this the case when I go online? I think it shows the dangers of the disembodied reality we’ve created online. We think it is empowering us, however it is just checking the checkbox on the terms and conditions which force us to agree that these online bits are not us, and that we sign over ownership of ourselves, and our on or offline experiences to the corporations we are engaging with. This is wrong. You do not own Kin Lane.