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Predictions for Privacy

LSE Enterprise's latest report predicts that mobile apps will be the most contentious privacy issue in 2013.

"Predictions for Privacy", which surveyed more than 180 regulators, legal experts and privacy professionals from 19 countries, identifies the key trends and major issues that are likely to emerge over the coming year. 

The report was compiled by Simon Davies, one of the world's leading privacy experts and an associate director of LSE Enterprise. It warns of a possible crisis of confidence over online privacy because of continued snooping by large government and commercial organisations.

The aim of the project was to establish a framework to identify the likely trends and events that would shape public policy and media reporting in the privacy realm over the coming year. One of the principal objectives was to construct an integrated picture of this complex field to reach a better understanding of the dynamics of privacy issues.

Responses to this survey indicate that 2013 is likely to eclipse the previous year’s record exposure of privacy issues. Respondents identified a number of key trends that are set to drive media reporting and political activity beyond the level of previous years. More aggressive action by companies to monetise personal information through advertising will inevitably fuel further controversy, while consolidation of markets such as social networking may induce emerging players to engage dangerous privacy practices. 

The report warns that the exploitation of personal information by governments and corporations has tested the limits of public tolerance.

Consent and transparency were viewed as the key drivers for public concern over the coming year.

And while there is a clear trend toward stronger and more inclusive privacy regulation - together with some noteworthy privacy-enhancing design and engineering developments - there is an equally strong trend toward information practices and corporate strategies that defy or circumvent regulation. 2012 revealed the extent to which the business models of major information companies often collided head-on with good privacy standards. 2013 is likely to be the year when that conflict is placed under the microscope. 

Concerns over Google and Facebook featured heavily in the report, with Google being tipped as the most controversial brand of 2013.

Simon Davies says: "The survey establishes beyond doubt that privacy has moved into the mainstream of media and politics. Importantly, what it tells us is that consumers are no longer prepared to have their rights compromised by the unethical practices of governments and corporations. It sends a warning shot to those organisations that think they can get away with bad practice."


Contact Simon Davies at s.g.davies@lse.ac.uk|

Read the report|