Millennials Value Their Privacy — Until it Involves a Reward

Millennials Value Their Privacy — Until it Involves a Reward

October 27

Welcome to my third article in a series of four talking about privacy issues.

Millennials have essentially grown up with a phone in their hands, and they are constantly using it to send texts, take photos, and share every detail of their life on social media.

So it was interesting to find evidence that this group actually does value some privacy, and seem to care more about what advertisers know about them than the government — a shocking revelation, I know.

In reporting on this very topic, Diane Mehta, a contributor to Forbes, concluded that Millennials were actually, in fact, confused. Here is what she writes:

“Seventy percent of Millennials say no one should have access to their data or online behavior. Yet 25 percent will trade it away for more relevant advertising, 56 percent will share their location for coupons or deals, and 51 percent say they’ll share information with companies if they get something in return.”

So they like their privacy, but if they get something in return for getting their privacy violated, then it’s ok?

Again, Daniel Gutierrez, chief data scientist for Private.me, answered the following questions I had on the subject. He is the founder of Los Angeles-based Amulet Analytics, a service division of Amulet Development Corp. His specialization is in gathering data and providing predictive analytics to enhance the value of data assets.

He didn’t agree with the notion that they value their privacy:

StorageCraft: Comment on the following statement: “Millennials are the most privacy-conscious demographic, and are pushing for a diminished digital footprint more than anyone else.”

Gutierrez: I must know different Millennials. The ones I know and observe are more interested in publicly publishing every detail of their personal daily minutiae without regard to invasion of privacy in any way. Of course, once on the Internet, this public record that is very, very hard to expunge (with the likes of archive.org available) and can easily hurt future prospects like employment applications.

StorageCraft:Is it that they really want privacy, or do they want to be able to control what gets put out there?

Gutierrez: I think that eventually, after being turned down for important career advancement because of past social media transgressions, this generation will seek to better control their online persona. That is where new ideas like Private.me will become important.

StorageCraft: Can they actually get their wish of a diminished digital footprint, or is it too late with the way technology is progressing?

Gutierrez: A paradigm shift is needed in technology to take away the power by the data-collectors and place it back in the hands of the data-providers (consumers). Private.me is an important paradigm change that’s long overdue by placing the control back into users’ hands.

StorageCraft: What are some ways that companies can make the most of these privacy concerns?

Gutierrez: The typical e-commerce or software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider can engage new security provisions through offerings like Standard Clouds “forgetful” mechanisms where the business no longer is in control of customer data — the consumer has control over their own information. This is something that Private.me aims to do, to create a new eco-system where both companies and users work together to give control back to the consumer.

Photo credit: Rob Pongsajapan via Flickr