Majority expects privacy to erode in years ahead

Majority expects privacy to erode in years ahead

Summary: According to EMC's Privacy Index, privacy isn't dead, but consumers around the world are expecting it to erode over time.

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TOPICS: Security, Privacy
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Eighty-one percent of consumers say they expect privacy to erode over the next five years, according to a study from EMC.

EMC's Privacy Index ranked countries by privacy and examined how much consumers are willing to give up for convenience. The report covered 15 countries and 15,000 consumers.

emc privacy survey

The data is interesting given the Edward Snowden leaks and revelations about government snooping into social media, email accounts and instant messaging to name a few. What EMC's report shows is that technology almost naturally encroaches on privacy and consumers are generally confused about what they give up. Consumers want convenience but most won't give up privacy for it, but don't do anything to protect their data and share data on social networks.

Among the key findings:

  • 91 percent value digital technology, but only 27 percent say they are willing to trade privacy for convenience online. 

  • 85 percent of respondents value digital tracking of criminals and terrorists, but 54 percent are willing to trade some of their privacy to track the bad guys. 

  • Respondents over 55 care about privacy more. 

  • 40 percent of respondents don't customize privacy settings on social networks. 

  • 51 percent said that businesses using, selling or trading personal data are the biggest threat to privacy.

  • Brazil and the U.S. had the most respondents saying they lost privacy over the last year.

Topics: Security, Privacy

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9 comments
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  • "but only 27 percent say they are willing to trade privacy "

    Bring laws to stop the illegal private data collection practices by Google and Facebook. The thieves at Google are abusing privacy to make a fortune.
    Owl:Net
    • It's Not Just Those Services

      Owl:Net, it's all over! Do you have privacy anywhere that you turn? No. It's pervasive! How do you know that a copy that you trust and deal with is not storing YOUR information on a public cloud that says, in their Terms of Service that they have the right to read everything, publicly display that information (about you) and even give it to third-party partners? What about a company that is into the new technology of the mobile workforce? How do you know that there isn't some employee with YOUR private information sitting on a jump drive, tablet or notebook? What if it gets lost? Does that company have rules that say that the information MUST be encrypted? Is that rule being followed (as it is clearly not very "convenient").

      I mean, that is really what this is all about, isn't it? Trading privacy for technological convenience? It is done every day! Evenm years ago, programmers were using real live data (there isn't much out there in terms of "test data", is there?) to debug or create applications. Yet these people leave customer or constituent data sitting on their desks and claim "I trust my fellow workers". But what about the cleaning staff? And other visitors to the building?

      We are all into these new technological advances that make businesses and governments easier and cheaper to run, not just in the case of employee convenience. Unfortunately, nobody even cares what data can be lost stolen along with identities. Nobody even thinks, "What if that is MY data on that tablet?".

      When you though in these issues, I think the article's chart would have the U.S. a lot higher. You can't just ask people which they are more concerned about in terms of convenience vs. privacy because too few people evn consider that there is a relationship. "Oh, its OK for me to keep all this data about customers on my laptop. If I lose it, so what?! They'll give me another laptop". They think the data belongs to them and they can do whatever they please as long as the work gets done. Or they think the company "owns" the data. No ciompany owns my information. Only I do and I have to entrust that information to other entities just to get things done to obtain service. But most people incorrectly assume that the entity will use diligence to safeguard that information rather than just carry YOUR information on a device that is easily stolen. It is that disconnect that people just don't understand.
      hforman9
      • Well...

        We are not talking about individual cases where a laptop is stolen or a rouge employee selling private data.

        What we are facing in this 'social era' is privacy abuses by companies and governments at an industrial scale.
        Owl:Net
    • MS is Owl:Net soft spot!

      Microsoft does the same.
      Altotus
  • There is only one entity

    forbidden from collecting data without a warrant, and that's the federal government.
    Tony Burzio
    • Not True, Tony

      First of all, the federal government uses a "warrant" to collect the data. In the case of the NSA, this "warrant" is called the "Patriot Act". But, getting back to your statement, there are LOTS of entities collecting data without a warrant. Every entity that you do business with is collecting data. YOUR data! They do it with your permission, but you probably haven't read where they tell you this. Do you have a Google or any other online account? Have you read the Terms of Service? Privacy Policies? If not, maybe you should do so. Do you really want them to have the right to do whatever they want with YOUR data including posting it in public? Giving it to third parties (advertisers?). We are talking about your PRIVATE emails here. Tell your friends that you bought a pound of dope? The police could show up at your door a couple days later. Can you scream about your rights being violated? Nope. You gave them away with the rest of your privacy when you signed up for your account. Have fun joining the class action lawsuit.

      Your privacy has been lost long before the federal government got into this. At least, they have the Patriot Act to fall back on. Since when can a government post a law that violates the constitution in order to stop terrorism, which is a (heinous) crime? The government can't violate our rights just to prevent crime. I mean, what is the difference between 'terrorism' and 'mass-murder', anyway? How about serial killings. How about multiple murders? How about a single murder? How about littering??? Where does it stop. Yeah, there is always due process and warrants?

      Unfortunately, Tony, most Americans are willing to give away their privacy for a little convenience. Look up at the chart in the article? Do you think that the U.S. is that far down on the list? Most Americans just don't see the connection between convenience and privacy. So, they value their privacy but still participate in the internet where there is little privacy. They have not bothered to read the Terms of Service or the Privacy Policy on their favorite websites because they have an excuse: "Too much legalese..takes too long.. we just assume the website would never do what they say they do...we don't want to give up the convenience".

      Just quit thinking that this is all the federal government; it's the entire capitalistic process. It's all about money and power; isn't it?
      hforman9
  • And in other news

    "Majority expects their property to be stolen in years ahead".

    Sure, if you give out your house keys to strangers, in exchange for free ice cream.

    No different here.
    William.Farrel
  • We ain't seen nothing yet

    "51 percent said that businesses using, selling or trading personal data are the biggest threat to privacy."

    And we haven't really starting seeing real misuse of our data. Yet.
    pingpalfred
  • Fascinating research

    Fascinating research Larry. You’re right about the paradox of consumers saying they don’t want to give up privacy yet revealing this on private networks. Do you think we’ll see a more sophisticated understanding of personal data evolving with people restricting what they share publically?
    Tarik.Taman