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    New York Times: The Privacy Paradox, a Challenge for Business

    The New York Times reports on a new study concerning privacy sponsored by data-storage company EMC:

    People around the world are thrilled by the ease and convenience of their smartphones and Internet services, but they aren’t willing to trade their privacy to get more of it.

    That is the top-line finding of a new study of 15,000 consumers in 15 countries. The privacy paradox was surfaced most directly in one question: Would you be willing to trade some privacy for greater convenience and ease?

    Worldwide, 51 percent replied no, and 27 percent said yes. (The remainder had no opinion or didn’t know.) There were country-by-country differences, but there was a consistency to the results, especially in the developed nations. The United States was 56 percent no and 21 percent yes. Britain was almost identical — 55 percent no, 18 percent yes. Germany was most privacy protective — 71 percent no, and 12 percent yes. India, by contrast, had the highest yes percentage — 48 percent, to 40 percent no.

    The study, conducted by Edelman Berland, a market research firm, and sponsored by EMC, the data storage giant, has some other intriguing results with implications for business. […]

    When asked to name the leading threats to online privacy in the future, 51 percent of the global panel of consumers picked “businesses using, trading or selling my personal data for financial gain without my knowledge or benefit.” […]

    But the more data a company collects, the greater the risk of misuse or doing things that will make your customers uncomfortable, said Jeremy Burton, president for products and marketing for EMC. For example, if you are pharmacy chain, the data from online and offline sources that can be mined today can fairly accurately identify people likely to be diabetics. Do you market diabetic-related products to them? It is certainly personalized marketing, but is it creepy?

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