When people discuss issues with data privacy, class ranking is rarely part of the conversation. Even though the internet has been a markedly business-driven project for some years now, the old perception endures that URL life isn’t getting marked by the same dividing lines that mark IRL society.
When people discuss issues with data privacy, class ranking is rarely part of the conversation. Even though the internet has been a markedly business-driven project for some years now, the old perception endures that URL life isn’t getting marked by the same dividing lines that mark IRL society. However, this is false. The realization that data privacy gets inextricably tied to economic status is becoming more widely accepted.
As the old technology adage goes: when the product is free, you are the product. Nowhere is this truer than online. Those with less disposable income are prone to having data leveraged in a more aggressive and potentially predatory fashion. Moreso than those who are affluent. Under previous lax data regulation, the robust flow of third-party data meant that advertisers could know with near-certainty the sort of online users that might be vulnerable to risky purchase propositions. In other words, they could target and exploit weak consumers with impunity.
A recent New Republic article highlighted some of the industries that are engaged in predatory online advertising practices. Among the culprits are bookmakers, payday loan companies, and for-profit colleges. It cites author Cathy O’Neil’s claim in the book Weapons of Math Destruction. “A potential student’s first click on a for-profit college website only comes after a vast industrial process has laid the groundwork.”
Advertisers can use anything from Google search history to educational questionnaire data. It data used to target individuals at their moment of peak susceptibility. It’s not that advertisers couldn’t use these techniques to target more affluent consumers. It’s that more affluent consumers are less driven to make such risky purchases, which get often borne from economic desperation. Furthermore, poorer consumers are more likely to have their information washing around ad-targeting databases. It’s because they’re more likely to fork over data for free access. The net result is, in the words of Michael Fertik, “the rich see a different internet than the poor.”
Through this lens, one begins to understand the impact of recent and forthcoming data regulation. It’s not a flat line across classes. It should work to disproportionately decrease the vulnerability of poorer online consumers. Especially because they are the most vulnerable to exploitation in the first place. Governments will continue increasing control over the use of data, and there will be the decreasing ability of companies to license third-party data without consumers’ knowledge. Combine both of those with increased penalties for data processors that violate their rights, and consumers will be less susceptible to predatory advertising and more in control of the data that they hand to companies.
Of course, no one assumes that new data regulation will magically turn profit-seeking enterprises into virtuous pursuers of the highest common good. However, we at Ethyca believe that organizations showing commitment to a higher standard of privacy protection will be rewarded in the long run by increasingly data-savvy consumers. With this in mind, beyond legally-required data practices, we recommend that companies make an effort to spell out all the data processing activities that they undertake on owned properties – to actively educate, in other words. Here at Ethyca, we settled on a “Nutrition Table”-style visualization that we think is crisp and instructive. Got a better idea to keep users informed? Feel free to describe in the comments!
Published from our Privacy Magazine – To read more, visit privacy .dev
Ethyca hosted its second P.x session with the Fides Slack Community earlier this week. Our Senior Software Engineer Thomas La Piana gave a live walkthrough of the open-source privacy engineering platform, Fides 2.0. He demonstrated how users can easily deploy Fides and go from 0 to full DSR automation in less than 15 minutes. If you weren’t able to attend, here are the three main points addressed during the session.
Introducing consent management in Fides 2.0. With the coming state privacy laws in 2023, your business needs to have granular control over users’ data and their consent preferences. Learn more about how Fides can enable this for your business, for free.
Ethyca launched its privacy engineering meetup, P.x, where Fides Slack Community members met and interacted with the Fides developer team. Two of our Senior Software Engineers, Dawn and Steve, gave presentations and demos on the importance of data minimization, and how Fides can make data minimization easier for teams. Here, we’ll recap the three main points of discussion.
We enjoyed two great days of security and privacy talks at this year’s Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security, aka SOUPS Conference! Presenters from all over the world spoke both in-person and virtually on the latest findings in privacy and security research.
At Ethyca, we believe that software engineers are becoming major privacy stakeholders, but do they feel the same way? To answer this question, we went out and asked 337 software engineers what they think about the state of contemporary privacy… and how they would improve it.
The UK’s new Data Reform Bill is set to ease data privacy compliance burdens on businesses to enable convenience and spark innovation in the country. We explain why convenience should not be the end result of a country’s privacy legislation.
Our team of data privacy devotees would love to show you how Ethyca helps engineers deploy CCPA, GDPR, and LGPD privacy compliance deep into business systems. Let’s chat!Get a Demo