Privacy vs Efficiency: Legalities, Part Two

Privacy vs Efficiency: Legalities, Part Two

Part one of this Privacy vs Efficiency segment touched on the struggle to maintain a level of customer privacy while achieving maximum technological efficiency. This segment will dive into the issues facing legislators. What are the consumer’s data rights? That’s the question that’s been being debated in Washington for the last few years. Surprise, surprise…they haven’t yet reached an answer. Although it may sound like a straight forward question, there are several angles to consider. First, think about all the other useful items in your life, aside from your smart phone, that make your life easier. Your credit card, for example, enables faster transactions without the hassle of managing cash or writing checks, but it creates a traceable record of your spending habits. By using that credit card you give up a small amount of anonymity for the added convenience it offers. Millions of consumers feel that the added efficiency of credit card transactions outweigh their lost privacy. This type of intrusion into someone’s privacy can be related to most general tool apps. Weather apps store past locations for easier access later, and the general public would agree that this intrusion is helpful and acceptable. Legislators are more concerned about apps compiling location data and selling it then the simple act of saving the information. Supporters of the movement to reinforce consumer rights worry that apps that collect user information could sell it to advertisers to create detailed blueprints of a person’s life. This could include geographical maps of a person’s weekly routine, enabling advertisers to market you a brand of dish soap during the time you are usually at...
Privacy vs. Efficiency: The Struggle, Part One

Privacy vs. Efficiency: The Struggle, Part One

In this series about the struggles between new technology and consumer privacy rights I will discuss the problems involved in companies collecting information about consumers from a legal and economic stand point while trying to give insight from a person on both sides of the issue. The mobile app market is full of thousands of apps designed to make your life less stressful and more organized but the trade-off could be consumer privacy. More and more products are hitting store shelves everyday that allow you to control them with your smart phone. These products hope to make your life a little less stressful. For example the “SmartThings” app enables you to control everyday objects in your home from your Iphone; therefore alerting you if you left the TV or the oven on. There are also apps designed to save you time, such as “RetailMeNot”, a coupon app that sends you coupons from your favorite stores. Most of these products weren’t available a decade ago and the increase in smart product technology has many questioning the impact it has on their privacy. Consumers are asking for more efficient apps in hopes that they save them time, but the trade off is usually giving up their privacy. One personal example many can relate to involves the weather. When I was younger, while I ate my cereal before school, my mom would watch the weather from the local news to decide if she needed to send a coat with me. The weatherman might talk for five plus+ minutes about this storm cell or that wind current in a nearby county before he got around to...