Privacy and Trust. Do You Care?

Your privacy. Is it worth anything?

Chapman as Brian Cohen in Life of Brian

Image via Wikipedia

Actually its worth quite a lot. But ironically it is only when it can be aggregated with the information about others that it starts to build real value. Its highly valued by those people who want to sell you things. Because nowadays a tremendous amount of the messaging that you unwittingly receive is shaped by the analysis of information that is gathered online.

Even the advice that you may receive from your doctor is shaped. Pharmaceutical companies are among the most expert in capturing and analyzing information about the end-users of their products. They in turn survey doctors to determine how patients have responded to certain key words in the dialogue between doctor and patient – all quite legitimately so as to maintain privacy. They then parse this information using tools that are also used for intelligence analysis in order to determine what key words trigger what responses so that their sales people can communicate more effectively with the doctors. That means of course – so that they can more convincingly motivate doctors to prescribe their products.

Data capture about you may already be the biggest business on the planet.  You and I benefit from this in one respect in that better products can be developed to suit our needs more usefully. However very few of us truly understand how much of our whole belief systems is constructed for us by the media channels that we unconsciously consume.

The Facebook feed that we get is personally shaped and filtered based on what we have clicked on rather than who our friends are, and the google searches that we get are all personalized based on the things that we have clicked on in the past. As Brian said in the Python movie, “We are all individuals”. The only thing is that we are like the crowd in that famous scene in “Life of Brian” – all repeating the phrase and all walking in lock step behind our own personal messiah.

Jen R sent me the following infographic that illustrates her view of the world of privacy:

You Are Not Safe Online
Created by: Online Marketing Degree


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