Why Privacy Matters – TED talk

Alessandro Acquisti on social media usage experiments at Carnegie Mellon:

Technical proof

Facial recognition (on a cloud based cluster with database of public facebook profile pictures) to find facebook profile from a passerby snapshot (from that name a social security number can be deferred with additional databases). More info on original experiment page.

Social media post judgement bias

People who upload (also embarassing) pictures to social media judge others harsher for such images than those who don’t (think about recruiting situations)

Nothing to hide myth

Women with baby (on picture or in text) is less likely to receive invitations to job offers. More info on original experiment page.

Informed decision in marketing myth

we react positively to photos “merged together” from close friends’ faces – but we don’t recognize them anymore (i.e. we don’t know what is actually happening and thus can’t make an informed decision)

Transparency myth

If “how we use your data” (with usage forms that usually indicate reluctance to share) is only 15 secs earlier than a sensitive question (e.g. in a questionaire or sign up-wizard), people will answer as if no warning was given (i.e. share more than if the warning and the question were close together)

“people don’t care about privacy.”

Often, a service doesn’t really leave a choice. It doesn’t mean they don’t care they just might judge their benefits higher than their damage.

Analogy with Garden Eden: In the garden, Adam & Eve had no material desires left open, yet they could not recognize & reflect on themselves. With recognizing their true nature, they had to leave the garden. In a similar sense, we need to take care of our privacy to recognize our freedom – while marketeers suggest that they fulfill all of our material needs (a.k.a. free online services). Trade automoy and freedom for comfort.

Big data can be a force for freedom and a force for (hidden) manipulation.

 

 

comment!