Are we choosing convenience over privacy?

With Ericsson forecasting that by 2021 there will be 16 billion IoT connected devices it is clear that the world is more connected than ever. But do we forgo our privacy for the convenience of geo-location, diary management and social media engagement?

I am sure that I am not alone in constantly leaving my location services setting on to enable my phone to become smarter; providing the best route for me to return home, reporting on the latest traffic incidents and predicting where I might be in an hour or so… without it I certainly wouldn’t discover routes so easily and quickly.

However, whilst this all provides me with great convenience the very fact that my phone, and any applications also connected to my location services settings, know almost exactly where I am at any moment does invade upon my privacy somewhat. But, are we beginning to see that as less of a problem?

With millennials in particular quick to check-in on Facebook at their latest location, share a photo tagged at their home on Instagram or track the progress of their day on Foursquare – have we failed to educate the generation in the benefits of retaining your privacy? Or do the younger generation, and perhaps modern day society in general, just not see this as so much of a problem anymore?

The rise of convenience

With the further and constant development of IoT and wearable devices as just one example, the concern over data vs privacy is sure to only grow. Wearable devices can track anything from your heart rate to sleep pattern, or data that may be even more personal – and just how often do we really check the small print when we tick to sign the Terms and Conditions? This data is not always retained within the application you use to access it, so would you still be as happy with this data being captured if you discovered it was being shared with a third party?

Do we not become suspicious when we start to see adverts across our mobile device and the internet for things that are perfect for you, but that they should not be able to predict?

Our privacy, it seems, it fine to be invaded when we are aware of it – but should it be used in a way we are directly unaware of it becomes an issue and concern. That problem is one that legislators are having a hard time to quickly resolve before it becomes even further absorbed in to our lives.

But just how much are we willing to balance out the risks of privacy invasion with the benefits of convenience – after all surely the enjoyment of your WiFi connected kettle geo-locating you to 5 minutes away from your house, and ensuring the kettle is boiled on your arrival, is surely more beneficial to you than the concern about your location data at that time being shared?

With such a tricky balance between convenience and privacy, it will be a while until an amicable conclusion is formed but until then the Big Data storm continues to thunder on.

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