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Payments vs Privacy

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According to a report by KPMG International, 55 percent of consumers globally said they had decided against online shopping due to privacy concerns. Furthermore, less than 10 percent of consumers feel that they have control over the way organisations handle and use their data. 

“An executive would be at risk of being fired if half their customer base disappeared after they made a crucial business decision,” said Nathan Desfontaines, KPMG’s Cyber Security Manager in South Africa. “Failure to imbed privacy into the DNA of their business strategy could ultimately lead to the extinction of a business given how closely consumers and regulators alike are paying attention to how organisations collect, store and use personal data.”

‘Creepy’ versus ‘cool’

When it comes to the global attitudes on the usages of personal data, consumers draw the line in dramatically different places.

What one consumer finds ‘creepy’ …

·         82 percent are not comfortable with the sale of their data to third-parties in exchange for the speed, convenience, product range, home delivery and price comparison that online shopping offers

·         55 percent said a free fitness tracking device that monitors the well-being of users and produces a monthly report for them and their employer is crossing the line

Another finds cool…

·         78 percent think telematics devices that enable emergency services to track their customers’ vehicles are a good thing

·         57 percent are happy to have a smart energy meter installed that enables a provider to deduce how many people live in a home, when they eat and sleep, and the appliances used

While concerns around the “creepy line” vary, the overall top three concerns about the way organisations are handling and using their personal information were: unwanted marketing; personal information being sold on to third-parties and lack of secure systems. The survey found that strong cyber security systems (32 percent) are the most effective thing an organisation can do for customers to trust them with their personal data.

Data sharing

Over half of survey respondents said they were willing to share their gender, education or ethnicity online, while a considerably lower proportion were happy to share more sensitive information, such as location (16 percent), address (14 percent) or medical records (13 percent).

Consumers are increasingly taking matters into their own hands, with half of survey respondents saying they already delete their internet browser cookies or manage their social media settings. Almost one-third even use incognito or ‘do not track’ modes, while a quarter percent use encryption.

Other global highlights           

·         57 percent of people fail to read, or only skim, privacy policies on entering websites

·         Unwanted marketing (59 percent) was cited as consumers’ top concern about businesses using their personal data, followed by their data being sold to third-parties (58 percent) and organisations having unsecure systems (55 percent)

·         Over two-thirds of people are not comfortable with smart phone and tablet apps using their personal data

·         In all markets but one, at least 75 percent of respondents said that they were uneasy with their online shopping data being sold to third-parties.

Regional findings

·         In Spain, 55 percent of respondents said they have no control over the way organisations handle and use their personal data

·         Only 31 percent of consumers in Malaysia said that they had sufficient or full control over the way their personal data was handled and used

·         UK is the country most worried about unwanted marketing

·         Survey respondents in India are the most likely to manage social media privacy settings, and regularly change user names and passwords

·         Respondents in Germany (78 percent), China (72 percent) and Switzerland (70 percent) are the most likely to know their online shopping data is sold to third-parties

For companies seeking to use personal data to personalise their marketing and services to the individual, build brand loyalty and develop better products, it is important that they understand that although opinions on privacy vary around the globe, it is clear that, more than anything, consumers value privacy over convenience.

“Understanding the value exchange between access to personal information and trust has never been more important than it is today,” said Desfontaines. “I truly believed that everyone would take a free TV no matter what. But clearly transparency is the strongest currency for any business.”

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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