Privacy in Emerging Media

The days of someone following three cars behind you, peeping into a window, or even watching you from across the street with binoculars are long gone… but not in a good way!!

Now, we as consumers, are being tracked with every click, every phone call, every picture, every road trip, every store visit, every pharmacy pick-up, and even every single bottle of wine purchased! Yes. It really is true! Consumers are being profiled and their personal data is being sold to a black market stock trade.

By WHO, you ask? Your best friend! Your most trusted assistant! Your most personal and intimate companion! Your SMARTPHONE!!!

Mobile devices can reveal precise information about a user’s location that could be used to build detailed profiles of consumer movements over time and in ways not anticipated by consumers. Companies can use a mobile device to collect data over time and “reveal” the habits and patterns that mark the distinction between “a day in the life”, and “a way of life.”

“I would never consent to that!” So you think anyway! In fact, you have probably already unknowingly consented to this through your mobile provider!! Service providers are not always forthcoming with what data they are collecting, how they are collecting it, and where it is being used.

You ask: “Isn’t There Laws to Protect me?!?!” No, not really! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could enforce adherence to the codes if companies adopted them, but since adoption is voluntary, there is no guarantee companies would adopt the resulting codes (United States, 2012).

Don’t be scared. Be SMART, and start reading everything!