Can privacy ever win over convenience? We say yes!

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A recent survey conducted by the EMC Privacy Index revealed some startling information about how willing people are to sacrifice their privacy in order for an easier online experience. The biggest takeaways, with results based on 15,000 respondents in 15 countries, are as follows:

  • 91% value value the benefit of “easier access to information and knowledge” that digital technology affords
  • 27% said they were willing to trade some privacy for greater convenience and ease online
  • 41% believe their government is committed to protecting their privacy
  • 59% say they have less privacy than a year ago
  • 81% expect privacy to erode over the next five years
  • Respondents aged over 55 were less willing to trade privacy for convenience

It’s a common conundrum. Most of us want to prioritize privacy. But then the idea of learning the ins and outs of privacy settings on Facebook and Gmail becomes intimidating and we go right ahead and post a status update without considering the consequences.

But what if we actually followed through on this desire to take back our privacy and prevent companies from selling our harvested data to marketers for profit? We’ve offered our easy and helpful tips on this subject in this blog space before and ReputationDefender is working toward a future where you control your own data and have the ability to keep it private or sell it to whoever you desire for an offer you deem fair.

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This isn’t a pipe dream. All it takes is a little more public pushback when it comes to privacy policies. It’s unrealistic to expect users to read every piece of small print attached to every single social media account, but if we all start demanding more transparency (in layman’s terms) from the giants in the tech world, steady progress can be made.

According to a survey conducted by Rad Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies, more than half of over 1,000 Americans that participated in the study said they “cannot trust social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to keep their contact information, buying habits and political beliefs confidential.” The survey also revealed that “while 60 percent of respondents either thought current privacy laws were too weak or weren’t sure, two-thirds said they either skim through a Website’s terms of service before agreeing or do not read the terms of service at all.”

We’re at a crossroads in the debate over online privacy rights. We can’t have it both ways and continue to disregard the blatant overreaches by the same social media platforms that we use regularly. Companies like Facebook and Twitter depend on their seemingly endless user base to measure their impact and value. That means the power lies within the people. If enough users complain, change is inevitable. Consider the complaints over Facebook forcing its mobile users to download a separate “Messenger” app, which very clearly was a ploy to collect more data to turn into profits. The feedback was overwhelmingly negative, forcing Facebook to admit some mistakes and make some modifications. That type of small victory is exactly the type of progress that, if maintained, can lead to wholesale changes.

So the next time you spend some of your valuable time selecting the right vacation photos to upload to Facebook, make sure to spend equal time double-checking your privacy settings. That’s how the battle to take back online privacy will be won.

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