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Consumers are worried about internet privacy but few do anything to protect themselves

SecurityHere’s a wild set of facts:

58% of respondents to an Associated Press poll said they were worried about government spying by the National Security Agency.

41% of consumers don’t know that smart devices collect information about their personal activities.

The truth is, it’s more likely that your new refrigerator is spying on you than the NSA.

Two companies published internet privacy surveys this week, TRUSTe Privacy Index and one by Consumer Reports, and between them an interesting picture emerged.

Though more than 80% of people said they were concerned about privacy on the internet and from smart devices 62% haven’t done anything about it.

Consumers are concerned but still willing to give up personal information to brands

mhAMTHQ - lusi - rgbstockSeems like every time I turn on my computer there’s an email about a potential security breach. Today, it’s, the link shortener people. They’re reporting a breach of customer email addresses, passwords and authentication keys. Last week it was the Heartbleed Bug and before that a handful of major retailers who lost control at the cash register.

With all this bad press, you’d think people would be even more reluctant to turn over their personal information but it’s not so says SDL.

They conducted a few surveys, created an infographic and here’s what it comes down to:

Over 40% of US millennials can identify the data brands are using to track their behaviors – and expect a personalized shopping experience because of it.

Twitter Teeters Between Informed Users and Government Censors

Twitter transparency tweetRunning a giant social media company is tough. You’re responsible for keeping a member’s secrets secret but you also have to respond when the government and law enforcement come knocking. In order to satisfy both sides, companies comply with legal requests but then disclose these requests in broad terms to users. They call it transparency but it’s more like a foggy window pane and the fog is getting thicker.

Both Facebook and Twitter released their latest transparency reports this week but as far as US data goes, they’re not very informative. And this comes on the heels of an agreement by the US Justice Department that allows social media sites to disclose “more” information. They can now report the number of National Security Letters (NSLs) and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) separately but only in groupings of 1,000.

Yahoo Announces Move to SSL for Sites and Encryption Between Data Centers

online-security-padlockYahoo appears to no longer be willing to be the NSA’s favorite provider of information. Ars Technica reports

In the wake of revelations about the National Security Agency’s monitoring of traffic on the private international fiber links connecting the data centers of Google and Yahoo, Google stepped up its efforts to encrypt internal server traffic and block such monitoring. Now, Yahoo has announced its own plans to encrypt all information that travels between data centers by early next year.

In addition to encrypting traffic between its data centers by March of 2014, Yahoo is also moving to apply SSL encryption across all its websites within the same time frame.

NSA Laughs At the Thought of Search Privacy

Let’s face it. Nothing is private. If you think it is then you might just be an idiot. Sorry to be so blunt but the latest news regarding the NSA and Google (along with Yahoo) makes it pretty clear that nothing is private. Now whether you care about that is another issue because many don’t and that’s their prerogative.

The Washington Post (is this Jeff Bezos impacting the ‘reporting’ already?) tells us the brutal truth.

The NSA, working with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), secretly taps into the internal networks of Yahoo and Google, the two biggest Internet companies by overall data traffic. The operation intercepts information flowing between the enormous data centers that those companies maintain around the world. In general, Google and Yahoo use privately owned or leased lines to synchronize their data centers.

Since a picture can say so much more take a look at this graphic describing how Google gets gamed by the NSA.


Now if you want to see the handmade drawing that apparently sent two Googler’s into a fit of techno rage this is the one which is also from the Post.

Want Detailed Personal Data? Just Promise People a Shot at Being On TV

The Million Second Quiz - Season 1Personal data is a valuable commodity. Many people will happily tell a brand their age, their income, their education level etc, as long as they get something in return. Points, coupons, gifts, cash – the more you want to know, the higher the payout. $5 might get you a three-page online survey, but if you want someone to show up for a focus group, it’s going to cost $30 and up.

Every year, big brands fork over millions to either gather or buy data on their customers but NBC just got 300,000 people to give up their personal data for free.

Okay, so they had to pay out $2.6 million to the winner of their flop of a summer game show but that’s chump change compared to the value of the acquired data.

Younger Internet Users More Likely To Take Action Regarding Privacy

Our favorite research group, The Pew Internet and American Life Project, has produced a new report about online privacy.

We always recommend that you take a deep dive into any Pew research because it is free and it doesn’t have an agenda (in other words, it’s not research as PR which seems to be the norm these days).

The report entitled, Anonymity, Privacy and Security Online, looks at the hottest subject in the online space: privacy. Privacy is the anti-big data play in the online space. It’s something that keeps marketers up at night because the less data there is about online users the less targeted marketing messages can be.

Add to that the findings that show that the youngest Internet users are working the hardest to have some semblance of online privacy and the marketing team could have a harder time reaching their targets. Here is a comparison by age group about who tries to do what with regard to privacy.

Pew Research Online Privacy