For Your Eyes Only

Apr 28, 2016
By: Marissa Camilli

Digital information privacy can no longer be taken for granted and its efficient protection is not a trivial task. The user privacy issue started with the newspapers in the 1800s and continued in the early 1900s with the invention of the telephone recorder. Both examples pale in comparison to what currently keeps privacy pundits awake at night: big data capture and analysis.

Proactive approach – the new default in managing privacy

When we talk about digital privacy these days, we talk about an active approach a person has to undertake; the privacy of information must be actively applied, because the default has changed.

In the past, data was private and concealed unless we actively made an effort to publish it. As it was collected and analyzed by conventional statistical methods – its distribution was limited in time and scale.

In contrast, today, every bit of data we produce is exposed by default, to the masses, unless we actively make an effort to protect it.

Reaction to the new security paradigm

The people’s reaction to this extreme and often confusing change in the notion of privacy varies on a scale between two extreme approaches:

Digital exhibitionists – those who share everything / everywhere / anytime, in the spirit of Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest. Those – experiencing the most intensified life by sharing – expect to be targeted, expect contextual service, expect content to find them just in time just in place at the right screen it is needed. For them – “content pull” (an active search of desired content) is archaic and irrelevant. They expect content to find them! And to be exactly what they need. They are happy to be exposed – the more open their life is, the better.

Privacy neo luddites – more than ever before – afraid of living in “Facebookistan”, where potential employers or life partners might browse over their past posts as a legitimate source for “backdoor information,” and find stuff they wish to keep “private.” These people do not admire the “expose it all” culture and fear its implication might raise its’ ugly head when intimate information comes to the surface.

Implications for managing your security

With the contradicting approaches to privacy, “Privacy” today means first and foremost applying Managed Access to individuals’ info. The need to ensure that users are as digitally empowered to control access to their data, and decide if it is for their eyes only (or not), is a business imperative in the industry today.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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