Be the change … for information privacy! Part 1

Posted: April 20, 2015 by IntentionalPrivacy in Uncategorized

Personal information about us leaks every day in multiple ways.

A friend told me recently that he has no expectation of privacy, and that no one else should either. He thinks that a lack of privacy will affect each of the six generations (according to NPR) that are around today until we work out what information should be private and how to protect it:

  • The GI generation is anyone aged 90 or older; their probable privacy impact will be in the financial and medical information areas, or their identity could be stolen.
  • The Silent generation is between the ages 72 to 89; their probable privacy impact will be in the financial and medical information areas, or their identity could be stolen. The privacy impact could be greater if they are still working or using social media, email, or electronic banking.
  • Baby Boomers are those people between the ages 50 to 71, and they should think about the privacy of their information, especially if they still work. Many people in this generation use email, social media, and electronic banking. So tax returns, financial information, medical information, and other confidential information could be affected. Like every generation, they should protect themselves, their school-aged children, and elder family members against identity theft.
  • Generation Xers are between the ages 35 to 49 and they should definitely consider privacy issues; many are far too free with their information on social media and through email. Financial information, medical information, and other confidential information are just some of the areas that could be affected, but they also must consider privacy issues for their children and elder family members. Like every generation, they should protect themselves, their school-aged children, and elder family members against identity theft.
  • Millennials are between the ages 14 to 34; these people should definitely be concerned about the privacy of their information; many people in this age group are far too free with their information. Sometimes people in this age group even post photos of their credit card on Facebook (argh!). Financial and medical information, and other confidential information are just some of the areas that could be affected, but they also must consider privacy issues for their children. They should protect themselves and their school-aged children against identity theft.
  • Generation Z (also known as the iGeneration) are children between the ages one to 13. Children have to depend on the ability of other people to protect their information. For instance, some parents do not understand that they need to check their children’s credit ratings as well as their own. By the time a child has reached an age where he or she can take out credit, their identity could have been stolen and their credit ruined. Bad credit can affect a person’s ability to get a job, rent or buy a home, or buy a car.

Most people do not understand the need for information privacy (until it affects them) and many organizations—because they are made up of people—do not understand either.

So, what do you do when you realize that an organization is not protecting your private information? Explain to them the change you want to see. I start with a phone call to customer service and if I do not achieve my goal, then I write letters to executives and send copies to regulatory agencies. I may not achieve the results I wanted, but I let them know that if they cannot address my issue, I will choose to move (whenever possible) to a different organization that is more supportive of my needs.

Maybe the organization will not listen this time, but they may be more receptive for the next customer.

Part 2 delivers case histories.

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