Walrus TV: The Data Bargain

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Originally posted on Walrus TV 

Google can suggest products you might like, Facebook and Twitter can find people you might know and Amazon and Netflix can recommend books and movies that you might enjoy, but RdigitaLIFE host Ramona Pringle asks, “Is there a catch to all this convenience?”

Though sites and social media may appear free on the surface, users end up paying for these services indirectly, through the data that they voluntarily provide.

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Photo credit: Gerardo Obieta via Flickr

“People are going to trade away their privacy for convenience,” says Internet freedom specialist Marvin Ammori. And in this trade, we are the product that is being sold.

In exchange for the chance to connect online, we willingly upload our personal data, location and photos to social media sites. “This kind of things would have been scary to people if you had described it to them 20 years ago; a database of all their lives and all their friends,” says Forbes privacy columnist Kashmir Hill.

This growing database enables companies like Google or Facebook to better target their users as consumers. “There are many small risks of privacy, many of which are so small that we don’t even think about it,” says Future of Privacy Forum director Jules Polonetsky, “but the next thing we know, these details are being used to tailor our environment.”

So while we may all want to connect online, how much is your information worth? And how much are you willing to give away?

In partnership with Walrus TV, RdigitaLIFE talks to author, lawyer, and First Amendment scholar Marvin Ammori, Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian, Future of Privacy Forum director Jules Polonesky, and Forbes privacy columnist Kashmir Hill to get some answers and insights into what we are willing to give up in order to connect online.

 

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