HBR Discusses Privacy and Creepy in the Business Context

Is it simply a matter of adjusting our attitudes by living with a “novel” use of information long enough? Or are we slowly boiling to death?

HBR concludes there’s usually a rationale explanation for the creepiness and that it’s not really creepy in the long run. I’m not suer I agree with all of the author’s examples. Take location data. Before cell phones, you had to be visually tracked. Now, we just monitor your cell phone’s location and can do it for every American at the same time all the time. Americans have never liked having their location being tracked 24/7, whether it’s the government or a private entity. This isn’t a “novel” use of information. Sure there are services delivered that are dependent on know our location, but how many of us think through the ramifications of being on the radar screen 24/7. How many of us understand when that is occurring?

Much “novel” use of information is really “novel” use of technology. It’s generally new ways of doing the same old thing- separating us from our money. That’s not a bad thing- we are a consumer economy. And I like “stuff” as much as the next person, but let’s call a spade a spade.

2 thoughts on “HBR Discusses Privacy and Creepy in the Business Context

  1. Everything we do is done within a context. When I whisper a secret in your ear, the context suggests that you shouldn’t turn around and shout it to the room. Unfortunately, technology is changing the context faster than our preconceived notions. Where it was once costly to track our every move, and we expected that it wouldn’t be done because it was costly, it is no longer costly and our expectations must change (but haven’t yet). Until we undergo a paradigm shift in thinking, we will continue to have conflicts between our expectations and understandings of the context and reality.

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