Systematic attacks on our privacy are not ‘normal’.

ING Netherlands plans to reward customer behavior so that the customers to companies  ‘ads tailor inspection companies fit into the prevailing’ new normal ‘. But we should not just accept it.

Dear Ben Caudron , internet entrepreneur and technology sociologist

Monday was like a feast for the few of us who believe that privacy is important enough to keep talking about. The morning news took up an interview of William Debeuckelaere of the Privacy Commission of MO * magazine. Debeuckelaere gave a few examples of what can happen to our information that is widespread on Facebook. Later that day, the story was the the focal point for bank ING Netherlands for paid information used for marketing.

Naturally, I was pleased with the attention of the media for these examples of how personal data would be used to make money. For a moment I cherished the hope. The hope that this would bring attention and indignation, that would encourage individuals to  think about the possibilities inherent in our technological permeated society. I thought it was actually a bit humilating for ING Netherlands. It suddenly gave a face to the normalization of systematic attacks on our privacy. This gives the impression that the bank does exceptionally naughty things. ING Netherlands actually does nothing but exploit economic opportunities that arise.You can not blame ING. That’s what companies need to do.

User Profiles

Now that we can no longer live without digital technology, it is apparent that a new material has emerged: data. The new gold. Who delft deserves. That the strong brands of so-called social media have already understood this and have used it to  their advantage. Do you really think that Facebook and Google survive by virtue of the ads they show? Data gathering, the patterns of hidden data revealed by sophisticated algorithms and the results – User profiles – are sold to marketers looking to improve ‘consumer insights’, business is booming.

The intention of ING Netherlands is in a sense quite special. As a rule, banks need income not mega data, to coaxes them in game with our money. Recently the game that was primarily an exchange of digital information has become a lucrative product: user data. ING Netherlands also aims to beat that. Byproduct of currencies

In its pilot project, the ING Netherlands is actively involved in the process that normalizes this practice.

If I were an economist, I would mumble that it is logical. But I am a sociologist, so I mumble something else. Like this: if its pilot project works then ING Netherlands actively participate in this process by which practices are normalized. That is the prevailing story of what is technologically possible is inevitable, the new standard should also be strengthened and disseminated.


The pilot project of ING Netherlands fits into the story of the ‘new normal’. An example of what is called technological determinism. That technological determinism may well be the dominant discourse does not make it the desired discourse.

Society is clearly driven by digital technology, but that does not mean that we should leave it to the parties who are profiting from this development.

Without a doubt we gain from the technology we create, but we are also at the tradeoffs of how we want it to be used, so that the technological society remains a human society rather than a technological society.

Freely translated from:


Om miwinther

Enthusiastic, reserved, sensitive, analytical, mindful,artistic,...curious about the human condition.
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En kommentar till Systematic attacks on our privacy are not ‘normal’.

  1. andersmoberg676 skriver:

    Nicely and well written. It seems we have a lot in common. Thanks for liking my article: ”Being a Liberal”. Take good care. Sincerely, Anders Moberg on


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