Shawn, like you mentioned there should be some balance or boundary line between privacy and personal issues. Without data and analysis, we may not be able to derive any conclusions and trends. So we have to collect data either through public or private sources, with in the limit of privacy regulations. Again datas can be differentiating as vital and non vital, where vital datas can be collected and sampled with due acknowledgment or permission.
Seth, you raise a good point. For so many people, it's about convenience and the "cool apps." I'm guilty of it too, especially on Facebook. Just because it IS easier to allow a given application access to your info just to save some time, more people do that without even thinking of the potential consequences. From that perspective, the companies that take advantage of that cannot be held accountable for people freely giving information away. The only way that I can surmise a possibility to get a hold on sharing information is to put some sort of warning prior to installing the application or anything else. At least that way, no one can claim "well I didn't know" and refuse to hold themselves accountable for giving away their own information. Companies know that they can't steal the data, but if it's given away freely, then they will use it in order to gain the upper hand in any way that they can. I'm not at all saying that it is right, but it is what it is and the people can't expect the corporate world to change. Instead, it is up to the people to realize what they are doing and what information they are simply giving away freely.
I think the number one privacy concern isn't that big companies are taking and using our data, but rather that we are just giving it away.
For all my concerns, I'm one of the most guilty people I know. I've allowed several websites to link into my Facebook or Linkedin acount for the sake of convenience and cool applications. If you asked me if I would give my information away point blank, my answer would be "No, of course not", but save me five minutes and I'm there.
@TAanderud You bring up an interesting aspect of privacy - the unwanted email ads. I am like you in that there are some products I have absolutely no interest in buying ever and yet we are bombarded by these companies thinking they can somehow change our minds.
This is an invasion of privacy as well and thank you for pointing it out!
Of course they have to do something - it's almost scary how well actions and then merged with other information. I don't mind being aggregated - but invidualized is different.
I think the problem is that the way the advertisers use data to ANNOY me and then don't use to prevent annoying me. For instance, I wish Company X would stop sending me offers for Blah service; truth is - I never want it. Nothing will ever change my mind about it. In fact if Blah service was free; I would pay double for the alternative service I am currently using.
Please invade my privacy and use your big data to figure this out. Use your big data to save yourself some advertising dollars - no way it's free to send me a postcard every month reminding me you have the service.
On the other hand, it would be really cool if Yelp (or a like service) knew that I loved fancy French food and if I was driving within a half-mile of a new eatery with 4+ stars and $10 off coupon, it would alert me. I can see where that service could get out of hand quickly. However if I could opt in or even pay for service it would not feel invasive.
For all their support of individual privacy, it must be noted that the Future of Privacy Forum is an industry-supported organization with a distinctly "business-practical" outlook, so they do not favor curtailing use of big data for practical business purposes. What they strive for are ways of rationally balancing business and research needs against the desire for privacy to avoid a privacy backlash that might make some industry use of data unworkable.
Shawn, I've raised privacy concerns all along in our discussions about many of the big data- and analytics-related projects that we've seen, as cool as they might. So, I agree wholeheartedly with the Future of Privacy Forum's call for vigorous debate about how to balance individual rights and the pursuit of innovation or improvements for mankind.