Privacy concerns depend on who has the data

Bruce Schneier notes that a recent Unisys study suggests people are willing to trade privacy for convenience, assuming they feel comfortable with the way the data is being handled (i.e. it is locked up tightly).

Yesterday, I attended a briefing entitled “Current Corporate Privacy Best Practices — The Good, the Bad, and Well…! which was put together by the local Privacy Foundation. In that meeting, a well spoken, obviously concerned Colorado state government employee chimed in, stating that her department was consistently riddled with questions from consumers as to why said department “had the data in the first place.”

So which is it? Do individuals really care if organizations have their personal information, being instead concerned only with how it is protected? Or do they like their local retailer handling it as long as they get good discounts as a result, while disparaging private data use in the public sector, knowing full and well that government isn’t going to give them any kind of break?

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