Would you be willing to trade personal data for an incentive? Everything from car mileage to your movements in your house; more and more companies are rolling out incentives including cheaper rates on insurance and energy bills in order to obtain personal data.
With the estimation that over half of thermostats in a US household will be “smart” by 2017, it is clear that ever developing technology is leading to the release of personal data, albeit via household devices or simple browsing tracking.
As The Washington Post discusses, we give up little snippets of information every day, often without realising. For instance; each time we browse the web and use our mobile devices, everyday actions that we may not even consider as a release of data.
The issue of trust between companies and their consumers plays a large part when it comes to purchasing smart, data obtaining products.
From a recent Accenture study, a huge 47% of respondents out of 28,000 consumers in 28 countries stated that concerns surrounding privacy and security are a main factor in their purchase decision.
With this in mind, it is clear that building and maintaining B2C trust needs to be on the major company’s priority list in order to increase the sales of such products. But it’s also clear, that as individuals – we need to do more to understand the value of privacy and the impact of giving our data away for an incentive.
The EU and the US
With regards to personal data and privacy, there is a much stronger cultural expectation of privacy in the EU than the US. The ‘right to be forgotten’ is a perfect example of the contrast between the EU and US.
This law is only valid within the EU and under specific circumstances allows people to propose the removal of a search result link to information regarding themselves that is published online.
In the UK alone, the company has received 32,076 requests to remove 126,571 links and approved 37.5 per cent of these requests. Such laws however do not apply in the US and the sharing of data and laws behind it are much less stringent than those applied here, the ‘Safe Harbour’ law is evidence of this.
Last year saw the ‘Safe Harbour’ act ruled as invalid by the European Court of Justice, an act which was in place for the free movement of transatlantic data. Now invalid, the impact is that US advertisers will find it much harder to gather vital customer information they need to personally target them.
How to protect privacy online
Whilst some may make the decision to share personal data in return for incentives, there are measurements those who wish to keep information private can put in place, in order to protect themselves online as much as possible.
With the concern that the next generation will not be aware of the need and value online privacy holds, it is important that these simple steps are taken into account whilst online:
- Privacy settings: Social media platforms such as Facebook are making it harder for you to make images set to ‘friends only’ and updates to privacy settings are often changing. Update all privacy settings across social media platforms, ensuring minimal information is shared on your profile and with the public.
- Passwords: Do not create the same password for all accounts and if you have a high number of passwords to remember, keep them stored in separate locations.
- Think: Most importantly, think about what you put online yourself. Do not share any information that would be damaging to yourself or others if spread online. Think about the effects the possible release of the information may cause before posting. Looking out for pre-ticked boxes when registering on websites is a way to ensure your information is not passed on to any third-party companies. This is a tactic that many companies use in order to allow them to release your information to other parties.
Concerned about your privacy online?
Sometimes, there can be a darker side to giving your personal information away online, it can fall into the wrong hands and often, it seems like there’s no way to un-publish something online once it’s there for all to see.
But there are ways to challenge and remove personal content about you online, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 (0)203 542 8689 in confidence to discuss how Igniyte can help you protect your privacy online.