No hardcore privacy advocate could possibly have been surprised by the recent revelations that we can have absolutely no expectation of privacy in our communicative endeavours today. But the fact that the rest of the world actually seemed to have been taken by surprise (or at least acted like that) and was alarmed by this, might create a momentum for a change of perspective within the social media industry. Perhaps privacy will finally be perceived as a profitable business.
The balance between “personal data as capital” and “trust of users as capital” seems always to have been tipping towards personal data as the heaviest currency. Its easier to quantify, easier to transform into a profitable trade. But the more often privacy breaches are brought into daylight, the more profitable sollutions that support the trust of users will be.
The social media giants Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Google realized the urgency of reassuring their users and reacted promptly by denouncing any knowledge of Prism. Painfully aware of the “trust factor” in the value chain, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple moreover immediately released their statistics over requests from governments on user data. And it is truly a factor to take seriously, the search engine DuckDuckGo that explicitly claims not to track user data, says that within days of the Prism revelations, user traffic increased by 50%percent and is still increasing.
Read more about my thoughts about “Privacy as Innovation” here. And I’m looking forward to workshop 308 “Privacy and Innovation” at the IGF in October, Bali.
Image from: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/