Another set of questions focused on the kinds of “data exhaust” that is generated as a result of everyday forms of online communications, web surfing and application use. Respondents were asked how much they cared “that only you and those you authorize should have access” to certain kinds of behavioral data and communications content and there was notable variance in the answers. The content of email messages and the people with whom one communicates via email are considerably more sensitive pieces of information when compared with other online activities and associated data trails.
Today’s human economies are designed with little attention to the residuals of production and consumption. Among the most visible unintended byproducts of the current economic system are environmental problems like air and water pollution and landscape degradation. Nearly all the world’s ecosystems are shrinking to make way for humans and their homes, farms, malls, and factories. WWF’s Living Planet Index, which measures the health of forests, oceans, freshwater, and other natural systems, shows a 35 percent decline in Earth’s ecological health since 1970.