“I’m not worried about my privacy online.” — A Millennial’s Perspective

“I’m not worried about my privacy online.” — A Millennial’s Perspective
By Anonymous | July 12, 2019

As I type this, my Word document highlights a squiggly red line underneath the word “Millennial’s” in my title. How quickly I am to ignore the suggestion, knowing well that this title has been made ubiquitous from this generation’s views, stances, and actions: from
religion to politics, marriage to the economy.

Millennial’s are the generation born between 1981 and 1996, currently between the ages of 23 and 38. (Source: pewresearch.org)

Their perspectives have frustrated the Boomers above them and has quickly molded the world for the Gen Z’s below them. In light of recent privacy scandals in the technology industry and prevalence of “fake news” in the media, the millennials have not been ruffled. Do we chalk it up to apathy and ignorance? To their comfort with technology due to early exposure? To their abundant awareness and caution?

Many surveys have been conducted to understand the viewpoints of the varying generations with regards to security and privacy, and the root causes are still being understood. According to a recent study in 2015 by the Media Insight Project, only 20% of Millennials worried about privacy in general all of the time, their biggest concern being that their identity or financial information will be stolen from them.

Survey reached 1,045 adults across the US, ages 18-34. (Source: amercianpressinstitute.org)

Survey reached 1,045 adults across the US, ages 18-34. (Source: amercianpressinstitute.org)

As a part of that generation, which I would consider rather diverse, I can understand the different root causes for these perspectives.

One is that the Millennial generation was born in the digital age, where the internet was part of the every day person’s life, and the Millennials were the first true customers and fuel of social media. They haven’t known another world so they feel a sense of normalcy in the others having access to their information.

Another reason could be that Millennials have yet to see the repercussions of any security breaches. From Cambridge Analytica to the Marriott account breaches, they have understood that these events have occurred but have not yet been personally impacted by any of them.

On the other hand, Millennials feel that they are in control of their data, that they have chosen what to share online and they have actively accepted any risk of their data being leaked as they make the decision to engage with certain products or apps. They see no true harm in their data being released, except when it comes to financial information (as noted above). This is the idea that they have “nothing to hide” — a credo of the generation which feels the need to share everything.

Our data has always been around. Since before the internet, there has been data. We have just reached an age where we can capture, measure, and use to it to enhance our world like never before. There has to come a point where you accept the world you have become a part of and your role. It is the world you grew up in, the innovation that your data has lent itself to that has made your life easier and better. You start identifying tradeoffs: “If I don’t share my location with my Uber app I will need to figure out exactly what the address of this location that I am is and make sure I don’t misspell anything so that my Uber driver can come pick me up at the right spot.” You have chosen your life, the conveniences, the benefits, over the seemingly small and insignificant parts of privacy that you are handing away. And as a millennial, I may be naive, but we have reached a point where there is no “acceptable” alternative.

Sources

www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/millennials-news/single-page/

www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/ft_19-01-17_generations_2019/

www.forbes.com/sites/larryalton/2017/12/01/how-millennials-think-differently-about-online-security/#6571f7e7705f

www.proresource.com/2018/05/why-millennials-and-gen-z-worry-less-about-online-privacy/

news.gallup.com/businessjournal/192401/data-security-not-big-concern-millennials.aspx

www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/01/02/nownership-no-problem-an-updated-look-at-why-millennials-value-experiences-over-owning-things/#7acd2f5522fc

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