Information Privacy

I would like to think that I’m very concerned about my personal electronic privacy but my habits and web presence doesn’t reflect that concern. Honestly, it’s just not convenient to protect my privacy. I have a smart speaker in every room, a computer that listens for possible voice commands, along with various social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This is a reflection of the industry I’m in and the kind of work that I do: I don’t have the time to guard the data I’m sharing.

According to Forbes.com, “There are plenty of arguments to make against those who say they have nothing to hide, but even after everything from Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks to 143 million Americans’ social security numbers being compromised in the 2017 Equifax hack, the vast majority of people simply do not care enough to make changes to the way they use the internet. It’s convenience over security.”

The best way to hide a modern secret is to put it in a company’s privacy agreement. Very few people, including myself, take the time to read it, even after there have been stories about egregious privacy policies and the pushback from consumers. Snapchat, Facebook, and Spotify are just a very small sampling of companies who have had privacy policy blowback. Even after these and many other disclosures, millions of people everyday simply click “agree” to use the service without wading through and interpreting pages of privacy legalese.

The most basic control a user should have is the ability to download and delete their data if they use companies like Facebook, Google, or Amazon. Per the WashingtonPost.com, “Google, Facebook, Apple and others have been rushing to ready new tools for people to download and delete their data — along with revamped privacy policies and interfaces that purport to be more digestible.”

Collecting data about users helps companies be better at delivering services that a consumer needs. However, companies need to be more transparent and up-front about who has access to their user data and how it will be used. As stated in the WashingtonPost, “companies were engaging in opaque practices behind the scenes, and that consumers had unknowingly allowed it to happen by signing away their rights.”

Sources

Dwoskin, E. (2019, April 8). New privacy rules could spell the end of legalese – or create a lot more fine print. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/05/24/new-privacy-rules-could-spell-the-end-of-legalese-or-create-a-lot-more-fine-print/.

French, S. (2015, November 2). Snapchat’s new ‘scary’ privacy policy has left users outraged. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/snapchats-new-scary-privacy-policy-has-left-users-outraged-2015-10-29.

Newcomb, A. (2018, March 24). A timeline of Facebook’s privacy issues – and its responses. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/timeline-facebook-s-privacy-issues-its-responses-n859651.

Torpey, K. (2019, February 28). If You Don’t Care About Online Privacy, You Should Read This. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ktorpey/2019/02/28/if-you-dont-care-about-online-privacy-you-should-read-this/#3d3e5d3f3886.

Warren, T. (2015, August 21). Spotify’s new privacy policy generates unnecessary outrage. Retrieved December 4, 2019, from https://www.theverge.com/2015/8/21/9186365/spotify-privacy-policy-app-permissions.