In recent months, several books have been released about "big data" and its potential impact on citizenries if the systematic collection of personal information by governments and corporations continues as it is, or worse, goes unchecked. However, to date, no book has been released that deeply examines the attitudes of citizens to such risks. While quantitative studies and quick polls conducted by media outlets suggest that citizens are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy online, my book provides evidence that this is not necessarily case. Through interviews with members of two very different generations--Millennials and Boomers--I investigate the enormous benefits associated with personal information disclosure online, as well as the perceived risks, which, despite what polls may suggest, are considered to be quite negligible.
My evidence comes as a result of asking deeper questions, beginning with how people actually go about protecting their privacy online, as opposed to whether or not they are concerned--a question that is easy to immediately answer in the affirmative. I then investigate the benefits of using popular social media sites, thematically breaking them out as follows: My Life Online; My Connection to Others (both strong and weak ties); and Convenience / Fewer Clicks. The latter theme is the most significant as it seems to be closely related to the willingness of citizens to have the boundaries of their personal privacy redrawn for them. Following this, I explain the perceived risks of online disclosure, which include not knowing how one's personal information is being used as well as the potential for the abuse of it.
I conclude by re-affirming the warnings presented by those concerned about big data, and provide best practices for the responsible use of digital technologies. This chapter provides the framework for a keynote presentation / workshop for secondary and post-secondary schools, as well as parent, teacher or government seminars. I will also create a YouTube channel to show video clips of my presentations as well as case studies to supplement themes throughout the book.