2012 Trends: Big Data, Privacy Concerns, Identity Authentication At the Forefront


The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University has published an article written by Amy Webb, the head of the digital ideas and strategy agency Webbmedia Group, weighing in with predictions for the big tech trends of 2012.

Webb offers an entire sub-section to privacy concerns, noting that Americans are uploading millions of photos every day to social networks.

She comments that, “In the process we’re attaching rich data along with them: who’s in the photo, where the photo was taken, even what equipment was used. Combined with social check-in services, which continually show our physical locations and who we’re with, a number of clever search tools have emerged that can effortlessly divulge a person’s name, age, and interests simply by snapping a photo of his or her face.”

Webb also points out the varying privacy expectations among different generations. She notes that while older users have expressed concerns about their privacy, younger people typically are more willing to share everything with everyone.

Webb adds that “Facebook continues to change its terms of service often, but most users aren’t aware of what personal information is being shared with the outside world. What — if anything — to do about our digital privacy will be an ongoing discussion throughout the next year.”

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.