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Home / SmartTech / Despite growing risks, we're giving out more personal information than ever before

Despite growing risks, we're giving out more personal information than ever before



We are currently facing a privacy paradox. We, the public, are becoming increasingly aware of the risks posed by online sharing of our data. Nevertheless, we continue to share it. Indeed, evidence suggests that despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the recent serious data breaches, we are even more inclined to exchange data for "better" and cheaper services.

An Experian study in January found that this was 70 percent "Consumers worldwide are willing to share more personal information with the organizations they interact with online, especially when they see benefits such as increased security and convenience on the Internet "A Center for Data Innovation survey conducted in January came to a similar conclusion 58 percent of Americans are" willing to provide their most sensitive personal information "(such as biometric, medical and / or location data) in return for use of apps and services.

This survey further revealed that a number of users would agree even more compromises if they have led to additional benefits. For example, 70 percent of Americans initially stated that a mobile app would not be allowed to collect biometric data for an obvious purpose. However, this percentage fell by 8.7 percent, or 1

9.8 percent, when exchanging such data made it easier for them to log into their accounts and protected them from hackers.

So, there is still a lot of people's willingness to view their privacy as negotiable, something that can be sold with the right incentives, even despite Cambridge Analytica, Equifax, Aadhar, Starwood / Marriott, and other violations or scandals regarding data. This is a conclusion that has been underpinned by other recent surveys and research, such as a study published in May 2018 by the Global Alliance of Data Driven Marketing Associations (GDMA) and the UK DMA, in which 77 percent of people in 10 Countries (including the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands) are either "pragmatic or unconcerned about sharing their data".

In other words, most people in these 10 countries are either completely unconcerned (26) percent of the total) about handing over personal information, or they are "pragmatic" (51 percent), meaning that they have personal information " Give up on a case-by-case basis, depending on the benefits "The proportion of respondents in the same study is" very worried "about privacy on the internet. Eighty-two percent of Americans say they have concerns between seven and ten (out of ten).

It is undoubtedly confusing that this concern prevails privacy exists with a willingness to disclose personal information. And when it declined after the recent public outrage, there seems to be a growing willingness, at least in certain parts of the national population.

For example, the same GMDA report also noted how, since 2012, the proportion of Britons who call themselves "unconcerned" about the sharing of their personal information has increased by nine percentage points from 16 to 25 percent. Similarly, and perhaps more strikingly, the number of "data fundamentalists" ("individuals unwilling to provide personal information in exchange for improving services") has fallen in the UK. It also declined from 31 percent in 2012 to 25 percent in 2017. Globally, the report also shows that the "unknown data" is more of a younger generation, while "data fundamentalists" are probably older (e.g. In Germany, 58 percent of 18-24 year olds are "compared to 34 percent of all adults." This indicates that the percentage of people who are willing to share their data is growing more mature in a data economy

Such trends are worrisome, especially if we take everything into account Now you know about the vulnerability of personal data.

"Many people who are not tech savvy For reasons of convenience and better services, privacy will be sacrificed and the consequences will not be recognized as long as theirs Nothing happens to personal accounts, "says Ahmed Banafa Professor of Electrical Engineering and cybersecurity expert at San José State University. Banafa agrees that there is a paradox of privacy today and points to Facebook's continued growth as an indicator. "Take a look at Facebook's results in the last quarter and you'll see an increasing number of people involved in Facebook activity or related apps like Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger."

Banafa points to a behavioral and psychological explanation: We may be disturbed by reports of data breaches, while it is optimistic to assume that such violations do not affect us. Tim Mackey, a cybersecurity expert at Synopsys, gives a similar rationale: "We are very aware of the privacy breaches that affect our personal information," he says. "But as long as this does not become personal, the problem is largely an academic problem that is ignored."

There are also economic explanations for the privacy paradox, as Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), points out. " First, question [of whether consumers are at fault for giving away more personal data] reflects a deep misunderstanding of the Internet economy, "he says." Consumers do not make meaningful decisions, and they know that, so it's perfectly reasonable not to waste time with privacy policies or privacy settings. "

Those working directly in the data industry support this. "Ryan Faber, co-founder of Bloom, a blockchain-based platform for digital ID and credit scoring, says that the desire to divulge less data is not enough to do that Paradox of privacy. "It's less a question of whether people are willing to," he says. "For vi ele is simply giving up your data for interaction in the modern world. This applies to both work and basic services. Worse, sometimes their information is taken without their knowledge or consent. For example, in the case of credit bureaus, you can do nothing to prevent these companies from benefiting from your usual habits. You can not refuse. "

That consumers have no meaningful decisions, is confirmed by the research. On the one hand, just about every single web site on the internet requires their users to download cookies (which track the use of each site), but a study by cybersecurity firm Ghostery in December 2017 showed that 79 percent of all sites worldwide are users follow. Movements online, even if these users surf elsewhere. Another 2017 study by researchers at Stony Brook University and the University of Massachusetts (and elsewhere) found that just over 70 percent of smartphone apps send personal information to third-party tracking companies.

How These Numbers And Reports Show There are some corners of the web that users can turn to when working together to protect their privacy. The situation is exacerbated by another aspect of the privacy paradox: By absorbing so much user data, platforms like Facebook and Google make the services they provide noticeably more personalized and rewarding than competitors' offerings. People are even more willing to personalize theirs Divulge data.

"Most importantly, when the services begin to use the information they collect about you to prioritize a certain metric of improvement: engagement," says David O & # 39 ;. Brien, Deputy Research Director at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. "If you try to use your information against you to continue to use your services. They only give you the headlines that you know you'll click on. That does not feel right to me.

The result is a dangerous vicious circle. Users generally believe that they get better services (and in some cases even better security) when transferring more data. However, the increasing accumulation of user data leads to an increased risk for cybersecurity. In addition to the Cambridge Analytica scandal (in which the data from 87 million Facebook users with the digital consulting firm were shared) came in 2018 to violations of Aadhar (1.1 billion people), Starwood / Marriott (500 million) and Exactis (230 ) Million), Under Armor (150 million), Quora (100 million), MyHeritage (92 million) and others. In case of such violations, it has to be pointed out that in recent years they have become bigger as more and more of us have shared more data with us.

In fact, the 20 largest data breaches ever (see table below), all but two, took place during the last decade, while 14 occurred in the last five years. The data dependency of the world economy clearly carries serious risks. Advances in cybersecurity can not completely eliminate such risks, says Annelie van Milink, data protection expert at PA Consulting. "No matter how advanced and secure new technologies become, hacking mechanisms (fueled by a growing dark web of financially or politically motivated individuals) will catch up and violations will continue," she says. "The more the digital world grows, the more important it becomes for companies to keep abreast of the latest threats and vulnerabilities and take action to reduce the likelihood of failure."

[19659002] A way Out of this paradox could be more transparency, as Marc Rotenberg of EPIC argues. "The true paradox of privacy is that transparency is needed for effective privacy protection," he says. "For this reason, genuine data protection laws, such as the DS-BER, impose transparency requirements on companies and establish access rights for those whose personal data can be collected."

By imposing a legal framework in which companies must obtain explicit user consent If you have personal data that clearly indicates what kind of data is collected, and where you also need to provide users with the opportunity to delete their personal information, the EU Data Protection Regulation should theoretically reduce the amount of data we allow to the world's organizations to gather and save. "The GDPR obviously has an effect on the choice of consumers, as it creates a much higher standard of consent," affirms Rotenberg. "This was the essence of the recent Google decision."

Another key component of this solution would be improved consumer education, as greater transparency will not mean too much if people are not aware enough to take advantage of it. "Data has now surpassed oil as the world's most valuable resource, so the data economy will not disappear so quickly," said Ashley Leonard, data analyst and CEO of Verismic Software, a cloud management software company in California. End-user education and investigation in shady data companies like Cambridge Analytica is the only way forward. "

But even if greater regulation and education would make a big difference, some experts are not sure whether the US will experience significant legislative developments anytime soon. David O'Brien points out that Congress is more likely to be discussing data laws recently (eg the newly introduced online privacy legislation by Marco Rubio), but he adds that data collection is likely to increase has become economically important to enable radical or significant regulations in America. "I'm on the cynical rather than the optimistic side," he says. "This is largely because we really have a data-driven economy, at least in the consumer-oriented technology sector. And that's the lifeblood, and once you get started on it, you really have a lot of stock on a political level. So I would be surprised if we can reach a kind of consensus on the best way in Congress. "

The time will tell if Congress can reach consensus on Marco Rubio's Privacy Act. Introduced on January 16, the Federal Trade Commission would have to lay down rules for tech companies based on the 1974 Data Protection Act, which in turn force federal agencies to consult with members of the public on demand, and most disclosures prohibited personal information without consent , Marc Rotenberg praised the law and described it as a "very good proposal". It should be noted, however, that the law has been largely introduced to prevent a California law on privacy that is comparable to GDPR. Given that Google and Amazon have been pushing for a similar bill to Rubio for several months now, this new bill is likely to be significantly lighter than their Californian predecessor and, if passed, will likely do little to reduce it The huge amounts of data that Americans still hand over to tech companies on a daily basis is a freelance tech journalist.

Simon Chandler His specialties include AI, virtual reality, social media, big data, cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies. He has written for such outlets as Wired, Daily Dot, The Sun, TechRadar, Verge, Cointelegraph, Cryptonews, and MakeUseOf.


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