The recent Pew’s survey on American Attitudes about Privacy, Security and Surveillance reports a fascinating lack of development with individual online privacy management behaviours and practices.

The online privacy issue and the concerns to individuals is strongly reported. People seem to clearly care about their online privacy. They strongly value it. However, few individuals would have indeed changed (enough) their online behaviours on the subject. Very few would have also adopted effective privacy protection measures such as encryption of their communications. This is quite surprising in view of the Snowden’s revelations in 2013.

Would most people simply accept their lack of privacy as a fatality? Is attaining (enough) online privacy too hard or perhaps not worth the effort?

The survey refers to the following quote from some information scholars, which may well summarise the *cost* of attaining privacy: “privacy is not something one can simply ‘have,’ but rather is something people seek to ‘achieve’ through an ongoing process of negotiation of all the ways that information flows across different contexts in daily life”. That sounds right and that also sounds indeed quite intensive and probably hard to achieve.

Would the trick to having enough online privacy be a reliance on a systematic triage of personal information and communications based on the perceived value of the information about to be stored or communicated online? That could well require a high degree of self-inflicted discipline for individuals to inform an appropriate course of data handling action, which would only get heavier when considering the possibility of data association with the data already available online. Too hard! We have an online life still to be enjoyed somehow after all.

I am very excited with the subject and the solutions yet to be imagined and developed to better empower online citizens with simple and effective digital privacy management control.

Article first published on LinkedIn on  June 9, 2015

 

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