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25 November 2021
Do consumers really care about privacy?
Data protection & privacy
Apple’s anti-tracking update saw a vast majority of users choose privacy; spooked by a vague new policy ultimatum from WhatsApp many customers downloaded encrypted messenger platforms Signal and Telegram, while internet browser DuckDuckGo is fast expanding – given the tools, it appears that privacy is front and centre of the consumer mind.
Why it matters
Or is it? Together, these stories provide a compelling narrative that fits a broader tide towards Web3, a vague term for a blockchain-based internet of “value” that imagines advertising as a kind of irredeemable blight on people’s lives with no purpose other than to slow down browsing experiences.
What these stories have shown, however, is the fundamental power of defaults. Apple made it easy to block tracking, in a similar way to how personal data processing services made it easy to connect to a powerful platform seemingly for free.
The broader view
As venture capital firm Sequoia Capital puts it in a recent essay, consumer interest may be shifting towards privacy, it encourages new entrants to plumb the opportunities offered up by this new idea. New business models can be thought up but they will rest on:
- Distrust of big tech
- Incumbent inertia
Where it is very useful, however, is in a framework for understanding levels of private applications and, more importantly, for understanding the privacy tolerance of certain individuals. Worth a read if this is a conversation in your organisation.