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For Americans, Privacy Comes Second to Utility, New Study Finds

A new study released by the Pew Research Center on January 14th has shown that American's would often gladly forfeit a certain level of privacy in return for added functionality or features. This claim runs counter to growing concerns over online monitoring by companies and governments alike.

It truly is a bizarre world that we live in when it comes down to what we choose to share, and what data we are happy to hand out about ourselves. The dividing line seems to be the perceived personal benefit we receive in return. So while a fairly large proportion of us (37% of people surveyed) are more than happy to let an insurance company track our vehicle's every movement in exchange for lower fees,  or for their office to install cameras to cut down on petty theft (54%), we are less happy about government monitoring or our browser history being sold off to advertisers, which is often the source of the controversy in online discussion on the subject.

So what does this mean for businesses that rely on such data either as their primary source of revenue, or purely to make their products work? To put it simply, they have to try harder to instill consumer confidence and convince customers that the exchange is beneficial to them. For example, as part of the survey participants were asked for their opinion on a hypothetical thermostat which monitors conditions in your home, then adjusts the temperature as you move from room to room. The study found that only 27% deemed it to be acceptable, while 55% insisted that this level of monitoring, in exchange for the service offered, is unacceptable.

So the challenge for companies is to tip the balance in favour of the consumer. If you can offer them something worthwhile in return, people are usually happy to grant you access to a little bit of their personal data.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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For Americans, Privacy Comes Second to Utility, New Study Finds Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 21, 2016 Rating: 5

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