By Jules van den Berg

October 7th, 2012

Today I stumbled upon a summary of an article about ICT and economics from the OECD. The report mentions a lot of interesting developments, from the high speed in which broadband connections spread around the world to the growing need of information and privacy security. That part of the article caught my attention.

A sentence read: “… This indicates a lower innovation level for technologies and products for privacy security than for information security.” Apparently within the need to better protect us against threats there is a significant difference between initiatives that focus on protecting information (in general) and initiatives that focus on protecting privacy. If I understood correctly OECD was (only) able to draw this conclusion by comparing the number of trademark requests of both types. It made me think. It makes sense that companies are willing to invest in guarding their information.

That information is probably worth a lot. Even so, it would be unpleasant to be compromised by having data exposed. Consequently, such a company might be protecting our privacy, but it does so primarily for the good of the company not for the good of the individual. If a company would really care about an individual’s privacy, it would not collect it in the first place, or offer means to remove or depersonalise the data.

I strongly believe that eventually incidents will occur that change the general feeling on privacy. Maybe it’ll be large-scale identity fraud? Not being able to get insurance for unclear reasons? Blackmail? Refused a job? Not allowed to enter a country or forbidden to leave it. People will slowly but surely become more reluctant to leave their names, addresses, etc., on any website that asks for it. And when this change of attitude grows, companies offering solutions that really focus on privacy (as opposed to increasing merely cyber security) will emerge. Recently I was shown a commercial of Febelfin that in a comic way says it all.

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