Big Data Download

Convenience rules over privacy: Study

Practice safe browsing

Consumers using devices like smartphones are increasingly trading privacy for convenience, even though they're concerned about how their personal information is being used, according to a recent study.

Many websites, apps like Google Maps, as well as GPS devices, smart TVs, smart refrigerators and toll transponders are used to collect consumer data, but many consumers aren't aware of it or haven't read companies' privacy policies, notes ISACA, a trade group for IT professionals.

On websites, half of respondents to a recent ISACA survey said they don't feel they have control over how websites use their information, yet 25 percent of them have not checked the privacy settings on their social network profiles in the past six months, the organization reports.

ISACA's survey, conducted in September, involved 2,013 of its members and 1,216 U.S. consumers who were asked about their attitudes and behaviors related to technology as well as how they balance risk and reward as technology consumers.

"I think it's a balance. ... We're looking at this from a perspective of joint responsibility," said John Pironti, an ISACA risk advisor.

Companies need to be clear about how they're using consumer data and consumers need to be aware of what data are being collected for company marketing research and other purposes, he said.

"If you don't want something out there, don't put it out there. Don't assume it's private if it's going to a public social media site, a public website or something of that nature because in the end, [companies] are there to make money," Pironti said.

Data regulations currently require consumers to opt out of disclosing their personal information to companies via apps and online services, but if government regulations required consumers to opt in instead, consumers wouldn't be signing over their personal information by default, Pironti said.

--Comments, Questions, Suggestions? Tweet Us @BigDataDownload