I thought I'd write about privacy and my feelings on the subject with regards to Australia and how that affects my trust. I have my views, they are fairly strong on the subject but I feel that everyone should have the right to choose what they wish to accept. Personally, I feel that we live in a society where I cannot trust that anything is private when it involves a business or company collecting my information. I believe that businesses will do their best to protect my privacy as long as it doesn't affect their bottom line. Sounds pretty bleak doesn't it especially since I am writing a blog that is available for the whole world to read so I suspect that many are thinking privately that I am a hypocrite. I suggest you hear me out and you will see that I am only talking about pragmatism.
So, a business offers me a loyalty card but I have to provide my personal details or I can use this service as long as I provide my personal details...you see where I am going with this. I believe that if a business offers me a choice to supply my personal details that isn't a tickbox to opt out in some fine print or hidden away that I can probably trust you as a business. I know that if a business offers me something for free that I should always question it and the information I am asked to provide. Take loyalty programs for example, why do I only get a discount for providing my personal details and not just for being loyal? A company could just give you a unique id without a name, gender etc and just be satisfied with a phone number but that isn't as valuable to on sell now is it. This is the fundamental reason why I do not trust companies, do not trust that they will protect my privacy and will quite happily make money off of my data without concern for me. If I cannot be rewarded with a discount simply for being loyal then I will take my business and loyalty wherever it leads which is based on the full price...also I don't like having huge quantities of cards in my wallet. If it is free, I not asked to provide specific identifying information about myself then I am happy and I am more likely to trust you.
My private information is not a commodity, this information is what allows someone to steal my identity and start racking up debt in my name so I should have the right to protect it. Privacy statements have been a great step in the right direction as it allows us as consumers to know how we should expect businesses to handle our information. The disappointing fact is that in Australia there is no obligation for businesses to announce privacy breaches until February 2018 ("serious" cases only) and instead only naming/shaming in the media seems to see it come to light. My private information is out there for many companies to collect or use with them always wanting more and I won't be told if it is compromised unless it is "serious" and we all know how definitions like this can be twisted. Sounds fair, I mean I give up my information, I have no control, am not informed yet required to trust that it is being protected? My digital footprint is fairly small and at the end of the day I try to be very careful with my personal information now even though earlier in my life I probably was less so. Businesses have lost me as a client on occasion when they have asked for too much information or have required me to accept terms and conditions which had me giving up more of my rights. Take UBER for example, I'd prefer a taxi which doesn't require personally identifiable or GPS oriented information for me to be able to travel between point A to point B...not surprising that I was able to breathe easy when it was announced recently that 57 million client records were compromised and this fact hidden for around a year which inspired me to continue to not use their service as trust just isn't there.
So, my trust is barely existent these days, I only use services I need and I am happy to spend more money to achieve outcomes knowing that in the process I am protecting myself and the business I serve better. Cloud services might as well not exist because they usually have clauses that inform you not to store sensitive information on their platforms which is what exactly? With your data is in the providers hands rather than yours you rely on the provider to act in your best interests which is not always the case. You are correct in stating that many cloud services are free or cheap these days allowing access from just about any platform which trumps the privacy issue. This might be true for you...although I spent less than a thousand dollars, pay no subscriptions, can access my information anywhere, own my data and control what happens in terms of access etc. True the burden is on me, but that is exactly where the burden should be because then I will do my best to protect what I own and ultimately, I am responsible for the outcome. Look at the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy for example, you pay around or more than a thousand dollars for a device, it does most of the same things as a cheaper phone yet you pay top dollar...then you worry about getting other things for free or cheap? Just something to consider about how you spend your money not to mention that your phone has a great deal of information that can be collected, stored and provided to the manufacturer.
Privacy and trust is a topic that is often discussed on the news, it is something that is often traded away to save some money and ultimately is becoming more popular because companies are getting positive outcomes. I am not suggesting that you become like me, make the same choices or stop using services. I am suggesting that you consider the information you give away, the value of it and the trust you implicitly have. What you choose to do is your choice but there are options out there and remember that your choices should be separate to your work or business choices which means that they need to be evaluated differently. What you as an individual will accept may not be acceptable to the business and vice versa. Businesses and companies will continue to abuse your privacy as long as we continue accepting their poor behaviour when it comes to privacy and trust. If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you then please feel free to visit our main website or contact us. Thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.
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