The end of privacy? Everyone worries about data leaks, but shares everything anyway

The end of privacy? Everyone worries about data leaks, but shares everything anyway

Summary: Consumers worry about data protection, but it doesn't seem to be reducing their desire to share their details.

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Businesses are not transparent enough about how they use customers' personal data and regulation preventing misuse of such information is weak, research has found — but that doesn't mean consumers will stop sharing their details.

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Few respondents to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit said they believe their data is well protected by the companies that are demanding ever more private information from them: 57 percent said they considered their personal data was "not secure at all" in the hands of social networks.

At the other end of the scale, banks came out as the most trusted holders of personal information — ahead, perhaps surprisingly, of doctors' surgeries and friends and family.

Nine out of ten respondents said they were worried that their data would be compromised and then used to steal money from them, while eight out of ten were worried their personal data would be used to target marketing campaigns at them.

Michael Harte, CIO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, sees this issue growing in importance. "Customers increasingly want more control of their data. They want transparency on where it is, who has it and with whom it will be shared. They want to know what it will be used for," he told the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Consumers also feel unprotected by the authorities: 75 percent said regulation preventing the misuse of personal data is not strong enough. Nellie Kroes, the EC's digital commissioner, told the researchers that these concerns are exacerbated by a lack of knowledge. "It is clear that one of the biggest problems is transparency and complexity," she said.

But the report said that while fears of potential abuse abound, this is not stopping consumers from sharing data: 84 percent of survey respondents belong to social networks, and 34 percent said they are more willing to share basic personal information online than they were three years ago, compared with the 23 percent who said the opposite, according to the survey of 758 internet users.

Companies that earn the right to use consumer data, and do so fairly, could gain a significant competitive edge in the long-term. Building consumer relationships based on trust will help companies gain access to more personal data, and help them to outperform competitors, said Denis McCauley, editorial director at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Consumer concern about privacy had led some to warn that — if privacy concerns are not addressed — a privacy black hole could emerge and undermine the internet economy, which is based on the permanent and easy availability of personal data that can be harvested, repackaged and resold.

However, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit report only 38 percent of respondents said they had stopped dealing with a company after it suffered a data breach, suggestion that tolerance of such events is greater than some may have thought. 

Topics: Big Data, E-Commerce, Privacy, Social Enterprise

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18 comments
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  • You lost your right to privacy years ago

    http://bpmredux.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/you-lost-your-right-to-privacy-years-ago-get-over-it/

    Analytics requires data. You’re giving it away all the time whether you realise it or not. That’s the reality of today. If you think you still have rights over privacy when you go shopping then stay at home. In fact, turn off the computer, unplug the internet and wear some tin foil.
    TheoPriestley
    • The Silicon Jungle

      Read "The Silicon Jungle" http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Jungle-Deception-Internet-Intrigue/dp/069114754X if you want to better understand the implications of your personal data in the hands of "who knows who".
      Scared
  • sigh

    "84 percent of survey respondents belong to social networks"

    Usually to share with friends and families, not total strangers.

    And the survey fails to distinguish between the type of information shared - I imagine that somebody's mailing address and phone number are less frequently shared than other types of information. Only one q

    "only 38 percent of respondents said they had stopped dealing with a company after it suffered a data breach"

    To be fair - many businesses make changes to
    CobraA1
    • aack

      aack, I wasn't finished! I dunno what I hit (maybe tab?) but that was submitted unfinished.
      CobraA1
    • thoughts

      "84 percent of survey respondents belong to social networks"

      Usually to share with friends and families, not total strangers.

      And the survey fails to distinguish between the type of information shared - I imagine that somebody's mailing address and phone number are less frequently shared than other types of information. Only one question deals with "basic info," and it was pretty broad in scope and asked it in a relative manner (asking people if it's "more likely," not if they actually do so).

      Not really the best wording of a survey question.

      "only 38 percent of respondents said they had stopped dealing with a company after it suffered a data breach"

      To be fair - many businesses make changes to the way they do things after a breach (and often publicly saying so). Not a big believer in second chances?
      CobraA1
      • share with friends = share with all

        Hi :)
        Stuff you share with friends is available for everyone. If it's shared in a pub people may over hear you. If it's shared on-line then you may find your comments "going viral".
        Regards from
        Tom :)
        Tom6
        • Theoretically.

          Theoretically, yes.

          But that's only a few assholes here and there. It's an exception, not the rule. They'll find themselves quickly unfriended.

          Things like phone numbers and addresses are optional on social networks - if you don't want to share them, you don't have to. The only requirement on most social networks that I see is the name (and I should note that, despite rules that may say otherwise, people often make fake names).
          CobraA1
  • Credit card details...?

    I don't know of anyone that shares credit card information or passwords on their Facebook account. That's what people are worried about. All the companies that get hacked and our credit card details get exposed, or passwords. You know, the type of thing we DON'T share with anyone that is not trusted. Big difference between sharing photos and the high school I went to, and someone stealing my credit cards and passwords.
    kstap
  • Smokers

    Many times the very fat, smokers and people who refuse to wear seatbelts are the ones crying about some pollution or nuclear plant.
    Same thing here mostly.
    MoeFugger
  • We also worry about getting hit by cars...

    But we still go for walks.

    Similarly, every time you use your credit card *anywhere* you're 'sharing' it. The retailer gets a record of it. Sharing of a certain amount of data is necessary for business (unless you're dealing exclusively in cash - which is getting harder to do each year).

    The issue isn't whether *we* want to give someone our data - it's when THEY want to give (or sell) our data to someone else without our permission. It's assumed that if they require this information to allow us to conduct business - that they have a major obligation to protect our data.

    So let's not conflate these two different issues.
    TheWerewolf
  • Are consumers concerned about their info?

    Few consumers worry about the kind of data that Google collect; a few more worry about having FB sell their contact books to anyone. But only the tin foil hat brigade make an issue of it in between surveys (and only to surveys, because the questions are loaded with the assumption they they worry).

    Banks and others with *meaningful* information are another matter. Identity fraud doesn't happen because email addresses are easy to get hold of, it happens because banks are sloppy.

    How can a bank give a total stranger a credit card with my name on, using a different (new) address, while still dealing with me at the old address? Because they're sloppy. Why do banks *still* get hacked and lose data? Because they're sloppy.

    If I get caught at a scam website and lose money, that money has been laundered through a sloppy banking system. Criminals wouldn't set up a site to steal from one person - they steal from thousands, and the banks continue to aid and abet them.

    Data sloppiness is not a consumer concern, it's a business concern.
    Heenan73
    • I Guess I'm One of the Few

      I bet you'd be truly surprised if you ever saw your complete Google data record. Their searchbots are going 24x7 ferreting-out every bit of unencrypted data associated with your name. Public records are one thing, but private records due to negligence are another. Google is in the business of putting all that together.

      And don't get me started with the idiots that load their contacts into FB or whatever - I should have the ability to control MY information. If enough idiots load enough information about you, without your knowledge/consent, someone can do some serious damage, and not just a few thousand dollars in credit card charges.
      Gr8Music
    • Not really

      It's not that banks give out new CCs. ID thieves use the correct information associated with the CC, but a different "Ship To" address. That's not the bank's fault. How are banks, or even retailers, supposed to know whether or not you are buying someone a gift to be sent to their address?
      Banks and CC companies have procedures set to look for unusual activity to identify possible ID theft. I know because I've been contacted a few times to verify purchases.
      So, it's not the banks (or CC companies) that are "sloppy." It's the customers and those with whom they share their information.
      Webminotaur
  • If you wouldn't post it on your front door for all

    your neighbors to see then why would you post it on Twitter, FB or the like????

    I do not have the time to read about someone's bowel habits or reading them bemoan about whether they should do grocery shopping tomorrow as they don't feel quite alright today.

    Better yet tell the world that you are leaving for a 2 week holiday and then wonder why you've been robbed while away.

    So many porch lights on and so many people not home.


    We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.
    ~ Robert Wilensky
    dave01234
  • Everyone???

    I'm part of everyone and I can tell you that I am careful about what I post. I block all return analytics. I'm tired of having my time wasting waiting to servers to find the correct ad which will be for something I researched and bought a month ago. It is also a 100% waste of advertisers money because I either bought something already or decided not to buy something. I'm done with that item/topic. Stop wasting my time and money, advertisers money, internet bandwidth, and pumping up carbons levels, all to no effect.
    mswift@...
  • Apparently many losers seeking validation...

    have no concern or comprehension of the privacy concept - they are likely the type of person who our mothers warned us about....
    HOWEVER, I DO take exception to the loosely stated thesis that "Everyone...shares data anyway." Taken in the context of the entire world of online users, I suggest the proportion must indeed be a lot less significant. After all, we all know every survey in the world attempts to skew their responses to prove some theorem or supposition.
    Willnott
  • Am I the only one who consciously avoids sharing PD?

    and studiously avoids SN?????
    Just saying.....
    Willnott
  • What Choice Do We Have?

    If water cost $10/liter in a desert, everyone would pay $10/liter. Not like we have a choice (yet).
    Le Chaud Lapin