Personal Information: Undervalued Precious Commodity or Currency for Convenience?

“Facebook admitted reading text messages belonging to smartphone users who downloaded the social-networking app.” — The (London) Sunday Times

“Your personal information is a precious commodity, and companies will go to great lengths to get their hands on as much of it as possible.” — Emma Draper, Privacy International

It seems privacy breaches are becoming more frequent, or perhaps discovered and reported more. The philosophy that it is better to seek forgiveness than to obtain permission is almost becoming acceptable by society, and I find this trend very worrying. The issue is compounded by our willingness to forgive if the benefit is convenience.

We trust these companies with our personal information in the same way we trust banks with our money, and yet, the former are not held accountable. I wouldn’t much tolerate one my mortgage provider tapping phone calls and emails with my credit card provider as part of a trial to launch its own credit service. So why is society willing to do the equivalent with their personal information? Is it that we don’t value it, that we don’t anticipate the ways in which it can be used against us, or do we just not care enough?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about sharing your personal information? Do you have any processes in place to silo your online services so they cannot track you? Do you have no concerns?

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