While data security is a major priority for most companies, privacy can be another beast entirely. Some companies believe harvesting client information is a beneficial tool for everyone. Most consumers, on the other hand, want transparency into how their personal information is used, especially after witnessing the number massive data breaches that hit major companies last year.
Earlier this week at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, people were encouraged to view information privacy as a gray area, not simply black and white. Securely using consumer data for advertising is good for business, as it caters to individual customer demands and buying habits. The problems arise, however, when organizations begin to use records inappropriately.
"Seeing only ads that directly relate to my life could be good,” Popular Mechanics writer Glenn Derene said, according to IDG News. “It only turns into a bad thing when something goes wrong, like when my data is lost or when [a company does] something with my data I didn’t authorize them to do."
There are also no overarching federal laws when it comes to data privacy, making it a very controversial issue. Although the majority of states have their own confidentiality regulations, IDG noted, a lack of uniform standards means companies in different regions can get away with varying levels of transparency, using personal information in ways unintended by the consumer.
Location-aware applications, for example, provide an entirely new concern when it comes to data protection and privacy. Many mobile companies harvest location information without the user's knowledge, which can lead to extremely destructive data breaches if the details are ever used inappropriately, a separate IDG news report stated.
The full capabilities of mobile devices are still relatively unknown, causing organizations to experiment with how they can use the tools to target specific individuals. These new trends are striking up conversations between business executives and consumers to develop standards, best practices and ethics, IDG said.
"There is a dialog opening up in [the mobile] industry on [the data privacy] subject now and only when a dialog is started will a system be developed to deal with this issue," SXSW keynote speaker Amber Case said, according to IDG.
Research firm Gartner said there were more than 472 million smartphones sold in 2011 alone, driven especially as more businesses began to implement BYOD (bring your own device) policies. These tools, which constantly project location-based data, will likely define this generation's data protection and privacy concerns as their use continues to grow.
Consumerization News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro.