‘Web Privacy, and How Consumers Let Down Their Guard’

Somini Sengupta writing about Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University:

Over all, his research argues that when it comes to privacy, policy makers should carefully consider how people actually behave. We don’t always act in our own best interest, his research suggests. We can be easily manipulated by how we are asked for information. Even something as simple as a playfully designed site can nudge us to reveal more of ourselves than a serious-looking one.

This is a very interesting read for anyone interested in how people value their privacy. Be sure to read through the section that talks about how engineering the order and way questions are stated make respondents more likely to share more information.

It’s fascinating, but this bit is scary:

Mr. Acquisti offers a sobering counterpoint. In 2011, he took snapshots with a webcam of nearly 100 students on campus. Within minutes, he had identified about one-third of them using facial recognition software. In addition, for about a fourth of the subjects whom he could identify, he found out enough about them on Facebook to guess at least a portion of their Social Security numbers.

I think the Social Security point is less likely to happen to people born recently (as the way that SSN numbers are assigned as been randomized), but man is that creepy.

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
1 minute to read.


tl;dr

Somini Sengupta writing about Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University: Over all, his research argues that when it comes to privacy, policy makers should carefully consider how people actually behave. We don’t always act in our own best interest, his research suggests. We can be easily manipulated by how we are asked […]