More consumer involvement is needed if privacy is to succeed…

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The topic of consumer privacy continues to be a significant issue in today’s multi-device, multi-identity world.  There are been so many ‘at risk’ areas, particularly within the Internet/mobile environment, that consumers do have a right to be concerned.  Our identities are certainly at risk given the types of technologies that can track one’s every move and purchase.

Often it is our own actions that put us at risk, not knowing the consequences.  I’ve been following the increasing interest for mobile advertising by the mobile carrier market and while the industry is still a ways off, I do believe there are a substantial number of consumers willing to trade a bit of privacy for free or discounted services.  We need to understand the trade offs we are making.

Yet, we continue to complain to the industry that our privacy is being taken away from us and not enough is being done to safeguard one’s information.  As a person from the industry, there are certainly a number of initiatives underway, both proprietary and industry-based, that are focused on improving privacy for not only the individual, but for corporations as well.  For example, our organization, Context Connect, provides platforms that are essentially abstraction layers that sit on top of a person’s actual identity (or an enterprise for that matter) – effectively working as alias profile.  This allows people to control and manage how, when and where they want to be found and connected to without revealing your actual identity in the process.  However technology can go alone so far. 

Technology certainly has been both the source and solution for many of the issues we face in today’s high tech world.  For every new slice of technology that comes out by someone, there are an equal number looking at alternative ways to compete again it, to those looking at ways of breaking the technology down. 

Yet even with the obvious problems around the ‘use’ of technology, consumers have to be more proactive, especially with one’s privacy.  Technology is here to stay – the question is how we can best adapt to give every individual an opportunity to protect themselves – love to see a consumer-led privacy group looking at ways to blend privacy and technology in our industry.  its a tough problem but one that needs the consumer, in many ways, to lead. 

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