Thoughts: Privacy and what we consider privacy has changed

In recent years I have met and been enthralled by a numbered few. Nick Tyler is one of those people. Since 2006 he has challenged the way I think, work and live.

Often (but never often enough) we get a chance to discuss anything and everything and sometimes in that order.  Nick, too much to possibly account to what I owe you: but thank you.

Mentor, friend, brother. Mind, body and soul.

Privacy and what we consider privacy has changed.
Nick Tyler

There is a lot of commentary on this currently. Good and bad. The problem is that the internet changes the game. Globalisation of our identities. Access all of me anywhere at any time.

What I find fascinating is that there is business view that all responsibility for your identity is your responsibility. Read the small print. If it goes wrong it is your fault. We give you settings but you have to change it to protect yourself.

People are lazy. People are trusting and naïve. I include myself in this. It does not occur to us people would steal or abuse who we are. Like the banks that keep extending your credit. Take more, it is good for you. The same underlying concept is that people can make a free choice to do as they wish. All of our marketing makes no mention of risk. Except for that astrix. Oh evil astrix ;-)

Fundamental flaw is that there are a lot of people who will abuse that trust too. And human nature is evil, competitive and driven so without controls there comes an awful lot of risk. And when business is involved they don’t want anything that may possibly restrict any and every last dollar that can come to them

Make sense. Problem not. I guess it is an underlying theme I am trying to articulate. A perception of reality we cannot quite grasp. Or maybe because these niggling themes of control are fundamentally at odds to the freedom that the capitalistic world has given me. Because if I am right am I advocating controlled censorship for and on behalf individuals. Yet we all scream “I am not a number.”

Hmmmmmm maybe it is that we don’t teach people at a young age that they have choices and that the route to a decisions must involve an evaluation of those choices.

That the responsibility for the consequences of their actions is theirs. But without teaching how to work out the consequences of actions and that these consequences come from everything you do then even that original responsibility becomes compromised.

Shit I am jumping from one theory to the next


Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Scott Pearce at 3:26 pm


    I am of the opinion that younger people, under 20, these days have a very different view on what is private. They dont know a world with out facebook, and to be really honest they aren’t stupid as many commentators think they are. They know what they should and shouldn’t put on line.

    People have been scammed and ripped off since your nana was around. Some people just don’t think, that wont change.

    But young people enjoy their social universe being relatively public, today they have very little to hide and in fact everything to gain.

    I have friends that et gigs for performances by simply ensuring their details and experiences are semi-public.

    Like I say, your nana had a stalker and she had a scammer. But what is needed, I agree, is education that moves with the times. Stranger danger has a new form that simply requires schools and parents to teach a different lesson.

    Kids have always been exhibitionists with their behaviour and voyeuristic of each others behaviour in their own social world, all that’s happened is that you and I get a glimpse at it these days, and the kids choose to let us.

  2. Scott Drummond at 4:31 pm

    Phew! This post is a little bit of a brain dump, isn’t it! Not sure I agree with your points about human nature, but it’s a conversation starter at least :-)

    I think it’s crucial as marketers that we remember that we’re always trying to engage with people and add value to their experiences with our brands/products/services.

    If you ask people for private information, you are also asking them to give up something else tremendously valuable – their time.

    You had better have a seriously inviting trade-off for those valuable assets, otherwise you only have yourself to blame if your prospects aren’t won over by your request for their details.

    Be transparent in your intentions. If you’re a publisher and you plan to improve advertising on your site by offering more details about your users to your clients, then be honest with your users about why you are asking for their personal details.

    If in doubt as to whether you think it is a fair trade off of information for services/features, then ask yourself a few simple questions and be brutally honest with yourself about your answers:

    Would you give away your personal information and time just because someone asked you to? Wouldn’t you ask them for some more details about what they were planning on doing with your information and why they wanted you to do some work for them? Wouldn’t you want a more convincing answer than a threat about you not being able to properly experience the site/product/service?

    As users, it is our responsibility to ask the questions of marketers/companies/publishers who are less than transparent about their intentions.

    As marketers, we can add value to our brand/product/service by making sure we always respect the inherent value of users’ personal information and go out of our way to offer truly compelling reasons for users to spend their time with us.

    Customers aren’t a right. You should accept that you have to work incredibly hard to win them over, retain them and continue to meet their needs.

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