Young people: get your hands off my data!

PrivacyNew research from Voxburner shows that when it comes to new and future technologies, 87% of 16-24s are concerned about the security of the data that they share.

There is a popular belief that young people are frivolous with their data and don’t have any concerns about privacy, but 67% of 16-24s say that security is their number one priority when buying an Internet-connected product. Reliability (45%), cost (43%) and ease of use (22%) were other considerations noted.

Claire, aged 18 from Medway, says, “I certainly have concerns about data privacy and in some cases I will avoid whatever I am doing if I am not willing to share my information with the company. However, in some circumstances I do make the trade off in the hope that the company will be responsible and I will get a decent deal for my sacrifice.”

Businesses and the media are becoming more excited by the Internet of Things, but are young consumers? When asked about their understanding of the term ‘Internet of Things’, 53% of respondents have never heard of it, whilst 19% say they have heard of it but don’t know what it means and 17% have heard of it and know a little. Only 6% say they fully understand it.

When given a full explanation on what The Internet of Things is, 80% of young consumers say the concept sounds interesting to them, 75% feel excited although 16% feel scared and 9% say they feel threatened.

Where the Internet of Things could have the best impact on the lives of 16-24s, 60% of respondents would like to use it to help them research products whilst shopping and save money, 55% say it would have an impact in the home, for controlling things on the move, whilst personal improvement like tracking fitness or better productivity (55%) and for social connectivity to stay better connected and closer to friends and family (46%) are other reasons cited.

Luke Mitchell, Head of Insights at Voxburner says, “The three biggest ways the Internet of Things can help young people are adamantly argued by our respondents: time-saving, added life value and money-saving. These are themes that resonate across all areas of their lives - they want value, convenience and fun. Despite having a higher than average stake in technology and a strong interest in what the Internet of Things can bring, there are concerns too. We’re seeing young people becoming more worried about their data and control of personal information. Respondents can see that the Internet of Things potentially means more of their life is exposed digitally.”

Over a third of 16-24s say the risks associated with new technology such as the Internet of Things do not outweigh the benefits.

The full research ‘Are young people wild about the Internet of Things’ can be downloaded for free on the Voxburner website.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on May 08, 2014 10:10

The Internet should be censored say 16-24s

Access DeniedA new report from youth insights consultancy Voxburner into online security and data privacy reveals that 59% of 16-24s believe the Internet needs more censorship and control. Interestingly there is a significant gender difference, with a third of young men strongly against further censorship and a similar number of young women strongly in favour of it.

Young people are also rather split on whether technology will be increasingly used for evil rather than good, with 46% believing it will be used for evil and 54% opting for good.

Google has faced media scrutiny over its handling of user data, yet UK 16-24s who voted Google among its top ten favourite brands in Voxburner’s Youth 100 research, remain positive and trusting of honest intentions. The large majority of respondents (86%) say that Google is not ‘evil’.

Commenting on the results, Luke Mitchell, Head of Insight at Voxburner says, “Often typecast as libertarians, the truth is that young people today are more conservative than any youth generation before them. The majority in our research believe that the internet needs more control – a viewpoint that is surprisingly at odds with the mood of internet culture opinion-setters.”

Voxburner also asked young people’s views on Edward Sowden and whilst 37% branded him a hero, 63% said they don’t know enough about him or the issue.

The full Online Security and Data Privacy report from Voxburner can be downloaded here.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on February 18, 2014 09:40

Facebook Privacy Changes Explained

If you have had a Facebook account for a while, and statistically you probably have, you should have received an email recently explaining some changes that are being made to your account settings.

Facebook had a setting called "Who can look up your Timeline by name". This setting allowed you to control what sort of people would be able to find your profile by using Facebook's 'search' function.
It allowed you to be findable by all users, friends of friends or only friends.

This means that if you wanted your account to be a bit like an ex-directory phone number you could ensure that people with who you were not already connected could not discover you by typing your name into the search box.

Not being discoverable via search however is not the same as being completely undiscoverable or invisible. Your profile page was still available to all users (unless you had specifically blocked them) provided they could get to your page. There are several ways to find you which do not rely on search. For instance if you comment on someone else's profile, your comment accreditation will link to your Timeline. If a friend tags you in a photo, this tag will link to your Timeline. If people search for phrases like "People who like cake" in Graph Search, links to the profiles of any self confessed cake lovers will be served up.

It is for these reasons that Facebook thinks the ability to limit "Who can look up your Timeline by name" is no longer a relevant setting.

Now, one could argue that there are many valid reasons why an individual may not want to be discoverable on Facebook and that actually, not being discoverable in a search would be a useful partial defence in many cases.

Facebook however, would prefer that privacy was maintained at the level of publishing rather than publisher. i.e. not to control who can see that you have an account, but instead control what activity on that account they can see. Facebook provide settings for this in the 'Privacy Settings' section of your account admin.

There is a lot to be said for restricting discoverability but Facebook clearly don't agree and whether that be for usability or for commercial reasons the e-safety focus must be to ensure people understand how and why they should think about their privacy settings.

There is no doubt that many users are mistaken about who can see their activities and the fact that Facebook had settings for both discoverability and content privacy did little to aid comprehension.

By placing focus on the privacy settings around activity, it may make it easier at least to educate Facebook users about the activity trail they are leaving and who can see it.

In short, we should be encouraging people to make informed and considered decisions as to the privacy setting for each of their activities and not just stick with the defaults, which ofter lean towards the less restriction and wider visibility.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on November 05, 2013 17:10

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