The “Millennial Rift” Grows – Millennials Are More Open Than The Rest of Us

Behavior change (James)

A new survey, conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., reveals a “Millennial Rift” — distinct differences in online behavior and core values among Millennials (ages 18-34) compared to other users, many of whom are only a few years older. Millennials, the survey found, report more willingness to allow access to their personal data or web behavior and a greater interest in cooperating with Internet businesses — as long as they receive tangible benefits in return (view infographic breakdown).

Online privacy is dead — Millennials understand that, while older users have not adapted,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. “Millennials recognize that giving up some of their privacy online can provide benefits to them. This demonstrates a major shift in online behavior — there’s no going back.”

The survey found that compared to Internet users age 35 and older, larger percentages of Millennials report:

  • More enthusiasm about sharing their personal information with online businesses
  • Greater receptivity to targeted advertising when their personal information is involved
  • More willingness to trade personal information in exchange for relevant advertising
  • Greater likelihood that they allow access to their personal data or information on their web behavior – as long as they receive concrete benefits in return
  • Much larger numbers of online contacts and greater use of social networking

Web Tracking is costing us dearly — our privacy

Image representing Dasient  as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

For years, many of us have been divulging personal information without realizing what we’ve been doing or its consequences.  Facebook has “struck gold” with its ability to get us to divulge almost everything about ourselves freely, and in real time.

The data which is being collected is primarily being used to get a better marketing idea of what we might be interested in purchasing.  If they know that we’ve been searching for a new truck, have “liked” someone with similar interests who might have similar purchasing habits and political views, they have some information that can help them target you with an advertisement you might “bite.”  For example, if you’re a woman they know right off the bat that you’re more likely to buy a Volvo than a man.  If you’re politically “liberal” you’re more likely to buy a Subaru.  Putting together hundreds of data points about you and your friends can give them a very good idea of what you might want to buy and when you’d be likely to want to buy it.  Kind of annoying, but not earth-shattering.  Enter the government.

Privacy concerns have been mounting as the government has been mining this wealth of personal data to help with everything from collecting taxes to investigating murders.  New research shows that as these tracking technologies advance, the opportunities for privacy invasion are rising.

“It is a mistake to consider (online) tracking benign,” cautions Sagi Leizerov, executive director of Ernst & Young‘s privacy services. “It’s both an opportunity for amazing connections of data, as well as a time bomb of revealing personal information you assume will be kept private.”

Mobile Apps Leaking Privacy

The entire privacy debate is now entering the world of mobile apps.  According to information from the Black Hat conference held this week in Las Vegas, Website security company Dasient analyzed 10,000 free mobile apps that enable gaming, financial services, entertainment and other services on Google Android smartphones. Researchers found more than 8%, or 842, of the Android apps took the unusual step of asking users’ permission to access the handset’s International Mobile Equipment Identity number, the unique code assigned to each cellphone. The IMEI was then employed as the user ID for the given app. In a number of instances, the app subsequently forwarded the user’s IMEI on to an online advertising network, says Neil Daswani , Dasient’s chief technology officer.

“The fact that an ad network is getting your IMEI means they can know how long you’ve used your phone and which mobile apps you use most often,” Daswani says. “The full implications of this aren’t clear, but with privacy you’ve got to be careful.”

How to limit Web tracking

Source: USA TODAY research

Delete cookies: SlimCleaner is a free tool that will automatically delete tracking cookies while preserving account logon cookies.

Erase histories: Easy Eraser is paid software that periodically cleans sensitive information from your computer.

Lock down Facebook: is a free tool that can help block your Facebook activities from being accessed by ad networks.

Smart Devices Monitoring Us and Predicting Our Needs

Our smart phones can tell not only when they’re being used, but how you’re holding them, if you’re walking, how many steps you take a day and obviously know your phone call patterns and even your calendar.  How far are we going?

Now, developers are looking at including biometrics and cameras to monitor us even more.  This will let these devices provide us with what we need, when we need it — kind of like a butler of years past.

But, what does it mean to our privacy?  Do we really want a machine that can be monitored by who-knows-who to keep track of every part of our lives?

For more, read Smart gadgets may one day anticipate our needs.

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