In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg famously said that privacy was no longer a “social norm.”
New research this month showed that 94% of consumers are uncomfortable with how their personal data is shared online. Drew MacRae at the Financial Rights Legal Centre, said consumers’ expectations had fundamentally shifted. As he put it:
“Privacy is making a comeback. People are slowly realizing what is happening out there in the market and discovering that, when they click on the button to agree to some service, some app, or some website, there seems to be all this stuff happening to that data, and people are starting to see the results of it.”
Drew credited the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” for turning privacy into a “barbecue conversation starter.”
The research also showed that 7 out of 10 people regularly accepted privacy policies that they weren’t comfortable with (and 9 out of 10 didn’t read them at all).
It will be interesting to see how businesses respond to the larger trend toward privacy protections and increased transparency.
Apple is driving some of the change, starting with the release of iOS 14 two weeks ago that gives greater control over personal data sharing and privacy, including user location data.
Next year, Apple plans to expand privacy protections with an App Tracking Transparency feature. Businesses will have to ask to for permission to collect and share different types of data and clearly explain how that data would be used.
In the notice, Apple proclaimed that “privacy is a fundamental human right” and directly criticized Facebook for “collecting as much data as possible.” They went on to say:
“Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet … privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so.”
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: