Younger Generations Have a More Complex Relationship With Data Privacy

I looked between the couch cushions and found some news for you that is not related to Twitter. A pre-emptive caveat that fixed generational boundaries are not my favourite way of grouping people, but I thought the results of this survey were interesting enough to share.

Jordan Marlatt, Morning Consult:

Although complicated, Gen Z’s relationship with data privacy should be a consideration for brands when strategizing their data privacy policies and messaging for the future. Expectations around data privacy are shifting from something that sets companies apart in consumers’ minds to something that people expect the same way one might expect a service or product to work as advertised. For Gen Zers, this takes the form of skepticism that companies will keep their data safe, and their reluctance to give companies credit for getting it right means that good data privacy practices will increasingly be more about maintaining trust than building it.

A shift from privacy as a plus to privacy as an expectation is long overdue, but entirely welcome. It may also explain the bizarre chart that shows younger respondents who were more favourable to companies that engage in a set of anti-privacy practices, like collecting user data without disclosing what purpose it serves or sharing collected information with other companies. If younger respondents believe changing company behaviour and regulations can establish a baseline for privacy, it might result in less concern.

Then again, maybe it is just naïvety. A 2013 survey found Millennials were, at the time, more likely to care less about privacy online, leading the Center for the Digital Future to ask “is online privacy over?” and a Pew survey found much the same. The oldest memebers of Gen Z are in their mid-twenties. Perhaps privacy is something people, in general, begin to worry more about as they become older.