Not as much as a very used car!
When it comes to online privacy, as outraged as we may get about geo-tracking, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and Saudi prince’s with offers of grand sums of money, we don’t but a very high value on it. A website called Security Baron (according to their website they are “a consumer-focused website dealing in matters of security — home security, property security, cybersecurity, and more. We provide reviews, comparisons, news, and features.”) surveyed 3,000 people aged 18 to 65 and over to find out what price they put on their online privacy.
Now keep in mind a lot of this information can be very sensitive. A professional acquaintance of mine told me one of his co-workers downloaded the information Facebook had on him. It was a lot of very personal data, including audio of a phone call of his sister calling him to tell him their mother had died and text messages that had nothing to do with Facebook. Who knows what’s in my Facebook dossier and who knows what’s in yours?
“They do say knowledge is power, and the people we’d be most likely to buy social media data on are our friends.”
Their survey found that the average Utahn values their social media data at $2,550. This is higher than the national average of $2,163.15, so that’s fine and dandy, I guess. But $2,500? For all the information you feed social media through likes, friends’ likes, photos, audio, video, websites you’ve visited and who knows what else. We’re still not nearly as bad as West Virginia (who is?) who values their data at $375 according to Security Baron.
Now, what could you buy with $2,500? How about a 14-year subscription to Netflix? How about a 21-year subscription to Spotify or MoviePass? 7 years at the local gym? And according to the report from Security Baron, “59% of us would rather have free access to social media and have our data sold on (as it currently is) than have to pay for social media where data was not sold on.” So much for kicking Facebook to the curb or actually going in to change your privacy settings. Hopefully, the new “clear history” feature Facebook has announced will make it a bit easier to keep things away from the wrong eyes, but how often do you actually clear your web browser’s history? And think of all the information your ISP has on your digital life – all of it! How much would that be worth to you?
According to Security Baron, “They do say knowledge is power, and the people we’d be most likely to buy social media data on are our friends.” Perhaps even your ex. It’s cool though because you could have $2,500 in your pocket. Right?
It might be time to check those privacy settings as in the real world, no one is going to give you $2,550 for those clicks, but they could make your life difficult.