Concerns about privacy were high on the technology agenda in 2012, and they look set to maintain their relevance in 2013 and beyond. However, our actual behavior doesn’t always reflect them.
Generally speaking, free services continue to flourish, and behind them sit business models built around monetizing user data. Behavioral economics teaches us that once a price point is ingrained, it’s hard (though not impossible) to shift. Essentially, we can expect free services to dominate for some time to come.
Additionally, the potential for monetizing user data will only increase as more activities shift online. More data (whether collected passively, through online behavior, or actively, through content we upload and share) will drive a more nuanced understanding of people and therefore a greater potential to market to them.
By its nature, the privacy debate tends to be a reactive one. Talking points rarely emerge before we’ve given control of our data away. In this context, the onus is increasingly on us to take a more proactive attitude toward our data.
Given the above, the second of GfK’s technology trends for 2013 is a shift in the data privacy conversation from privacy concerns to questions about ownership. Services like Mydex are already seeking to create a more transparent dynamic between individuals and businesses, and the recent furor over Instagram changing its terms and conditions illustrates how important this dynamic can be.
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