Is your every move online tracked?

I think that consumer security online is one of the most important and current ethical issues of social media in business talked about today. Forbes not only call it an issue but a ‘deadly sin’ of social media. Many companies compromise our security and sell on our personal information to this day. Let’s face it, how often do you read term and conditions when singing up for an online shopping retailer? I can image not so often. In the meantime our information gets passed on for profit maximisation purposes. For example DoubleClick, online advertiser attempted to combine offline purchase data from consumers with their online persona, alongside with Facebook itself that has stepped out of line numerous times and compromised our security by changing the types of personal information automatically shared ( Vinjamuri 2011).

As you can see from the image below, many consumers do not feel secure and do not trust the companies with their information, and that un turn can massively affect the image and success of the businesses.

consumer concern image .jpg

(Bachman 2014)

However, many companies today are working on tackling this issue to ensure ethical treatment of consumers online. For example, one of the most heard about cases recently is Apple refusing to create a backdoor into tracking IPhones and iOS and informing consumers worldwide about it, alongside with making their products more secure for individual consumers by adding touch ID and Apple pay (Khatibloo 2016).

Alongside with Apple, WhatsApp have recently introduced an end-to-end encryption of all the messages sent via the latest version of their app, so that not even WhatsApp themselves can gain access to it. (WhatsApp 2016)

Samsung have been working with Goldman Sachs on security software Knox for their consumers, and their views on online security you can see in the video below

 

I think that, although many companies have been bringing in extra security methods for their consumers in the digital world to protect them and help build consumer – company trust, we are a long way away from the ideal world here. Many of us still get targeted ads all over the websites and spam emails from the companies we haven’t even ever heard of, which can make us feel anything but secure online. Ad blockers do not change the fact that our information is going out there to third parties and spam emails never end. This is why I believe that this is a very important issue in the online community today and more has to be done by big corporation to focus on their consumers rather than maximising their profits.

 

 

References:

Bachman, K. (2014) Consumer confidence in online privacy hits 3-Year low. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/consumer-confidence-online-privacy-hits-3-year-low-155255 (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

Forrester (2016) Apple does the right thing to defend customer privacy. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forrester/2016/02/18/apple-does-the-right-thing-to-defend-customer-privacy/#4d61727a5b90 (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

Inc, W. (2016) WhatsApp: Security. Available at: https://www.whatsapp.com/security/ (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

(No Date) Available at: http://www.digitalislam.eu/dwn/1003/6993C450x283_onlinesecurity2.jpg (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

Samsung Newsroom (2016) [CES 2016] keynote part 5: Consumer security in the Internet of things. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Y9WinMEN0 (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

Vinjamuri, D. (2011) Ethics and the Five deadly sins of social media. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidvinjamuri/2011/11/03/ethics-and-the-5-deadly-sins-of-social-media/#5da007d037ad (Accessed: 24 April 2016).

7 Replies to “Is your every move online tracked?”

  1. Hi Kate, I really enjoyed reading your blog post!

    I noticed what you said about Apple and WhatsApp encrypted data so that even they cannot read it. There was a case recently whereby Apple was refusing to build a backdoor into their operating system for iPhones which the FBI was requesting them do ( http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/17/11036306/apple-fbi-iphone-encryption-backdoor-tim-cook ) to try and unlock some information relating to a terrorist attack in American. Apple said that bypassing the security on their phones in this way would set a precedent and allow for future hackers to gain access to phones unlawfully. Where do you stand on this? Personally, I side with Apple, because it is important to keep things secure, but it’s not an opinion that lots of people are happy to express and it’s a bit of a grey area.

    I liked the infographic you found about consumer trust as it really expressed exactly how people feel. I certainly don’t like it when I look some something on Amazon and then I see adverts for it all over the web. Or perhaps I buy one thing and then I get emails later telling me what else I could buy. In some ways, I can see how this is clever technology and it’s useful for both companies and consumers because they can target adverts that are relevant, but on the other hand it just feels wrong because it makes me wonder how companies are able to determine this information about it. What do you think?

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  2. Hi Kate!

    First of all, I really did enjoy reading your post as it was something I discussed on my blog too. I feel that privacy is one of the main ethical issues that surround business use of social media. Personally, identifying myself as an online consumer, I tend to just go ahead without care and just fill in all the necessary details. Even if it means sharing most of my personal information to businesses for consumer purposes. I do agree with the fact that companies should be taking measures so that they do not infringe on their customers. However, do you think that, we, as the consumers should be the same in taking privacy measures? For eg. I should be sharing less of my personal information on retail sites such as Topshop or H&M.

    Secondly , do you think that businesses are not at fault when they have provided terms conditions? Are the people of today just pointing fingers to big businesses or corporations saying that they have collected personal data when in fact they have mentioned something along the lines of this in the terms and conditions? Because, I can tell you that I am the person that definitely does not read the terms and conditions. So at times I do blame myself for not reading this.

    Let me know what you think! 🙂

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  3. Hi Kate, really interesting blog post regarding online security – something I’m admittedly quite blasé. How often do I read terms and conditions online you ask? Well I could count not only count the number of times I have done on hand, but one finger.
    Contradictory to the information in the Trust Privacy Index image you’ve used, I would say my trust in businesses handling my personal information has increased as I’ve got older and become more comfortable and confident with the internet. Unlike my parents, when it comes to banking all I really know of is the world of internet banking and none of that using cash or going into a (physical) bank to make a transfer malarkey. I never second question banking online, it’s just the way things are now. Are you the same?
    Take a look at this article on Business Insider. Do you agree with me that it’s alarming an internet user must take at least 13 steps to avoid being watched and tracked online just because it benefits the bank balances of managers of major corporations? Before reading this article I truly had no idea the extent to which my every move is scrutinised online.

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