Privacy Engineering

Which Information Do Consumers Most Closely Guard?

Note from the Editor:

This is the fifth in a series of posts by Westerman and Aschenberger exploring the role of trust in the marketplace. Here are the first, second, third and fourth installments. The next post will look at just how closely consumers guard their personal digital data.

We know that consumers don’t always understand how companies collect their data, and that these misconceptions can create a trust gap between retailers and shoppers.

This doesn’t mean that consumers are completely unwilling to share their data with retailers, though. Our team at Create with Context surveyed 800 consumers in the U.S., asking them which information they’d be willing to give up in exchange for 50 percent off of three different items: a gallon of milk, a large-screen television and a new car.

Privacy Art

Sending a Message Through Privacy Art

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
NYT Word Frequency, by Jer Thorpe

In one of Portlandia’s early episodes, “Bryce Shivers” and “Lisa Eversman” reveal how they spruce things up and make them pretty by putting birds on them. They even put a bird on a bird and get more than they bargained for when an actual bird makes an appearance—giving new meaning to deconstruction.

The clip reminded me of the protean definition of art. Is wrapping a building in cloth art? Put some cloth on it! Well, to some, yes. So without going into the classic, “what is art?” tangent, let’s just say that art means different things to different folks.

Which brings me to LinkedIn passwords.

More from Jedidiah Bracy


When What You Had for Lunch Comes Back To Bite You: A Social Media Experiment

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
Image from Jack Vale’s “Social Media Experiment”

This week here in the office, a number of folks sent us a link to a video-gone-viral of a social media experiment. Maybe you’ve seen it. The host, Jack Vale, wanted to know “how easy it would be to get personal information from complete strangers.” He did so by searching for public social media posts by using his own location, then identifying the posters in real life.

Pretty simple stuff. And, it turns out, getting their personal information was very easy … in a creepy way.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Privacy Engineering

Brick-and-Mortar Transparency: Are Phone Alerts the Best Notification for Collecting Consumer Data?

Note from the Editor:

This is the fourth in a series of posts by Westerman exploring the role of trust in the marketplace. Here are the first, second and third. Future posts will discuss research that shows what things people do value when they’re shopping, and how technology can support those things. Additionally, the IAPP will host the web conference Bricks-and-Mortar Is Back—Emerging Privacy Issues in Retail Settings in the U.S. on Thursday, October 31.

New technology allows retailers to collect data—such as location, contacts, apps installed—from their customers’ phones. But when we surveyed consumers, only 33 percent of them realized this might be happening. On the other hand, when we surveyed consumers about stores collecting only their location, this number increased to 50 percent. We know from previous research that, when people are not aware of data being collected and don’t expect it to happen—and then find out about it later—trust can be eroded. How, then, can businesses create transparency around data collection?


Privacy in Context

By J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP

The New York Times ran a story yesterday that describes the arrival of our “contextualized” existence—brought forth by predictive search apps that understand the context of your life and provide reminders, information and services based on what you are doing, where you are and what you might need next. Products like Google Now, Evernote and Cue are said to “know what you want, before you do.” In a front-page, above-the-fold story, the Times highlighted the fact that privacy remains, yet again, a central concern as we move towards this digital future.

More from J. Trevor Hughes