Solving the Challenge of Convenience vs. Security

Opinion

In today’s world, more and more people now care about their data and how it is being used while they are going about surfing the web. Let me introduce you to Jane:

She’s an avid reader of the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. She has accounts on most media sites and pays only when she needs to. Jane knows that her consumption of free media is at the expense of her online privacy. However, she still wants to maintain some element of control over her online experience. Jane has heard about GDPR and understands that it enables greater protections for her as a consumer.

Jane is like most people. Having spent over a decade in ad tech, it’s clear that the privacy vs. data push-pull between consumers and publishers isn’t unique to Jane. For consumers, their personal data is collected and used over and over for the benefit of everyone involved in the advertising ecosystem. For publishers, access to that personal data, and therefore profits, is being curtailed by recently-enacted legislation including GDPR and the California California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375).

Let’s take a look at what this means.

For Businesses

These laws that provide increased privacy rights for consumers have already had far-reaching effects on the media landscape, many of whom already face the sisyphean challenge of walled gardens guarded by some of the world’s largest players. Currently, access to most online portals, platforms, and publishing sites is governed by social networks, third-party centralized login solutions, or usernames and passwords. The walled garden usually comes with steep “entry fees” in terms of data sharing.

For Consumers

For consumers, the tradeoff of consuming media for free is having their personal data sold and traded as payment. Convenience and security live on opposite ends of the spectrum and, essentially, force people to decide between one or the other in their online lives daily.

In a January 2018 IBM Security survey, we know that consumers assign nearly equal importance to convenience (36%) and security (34%) when it comes to their social media accounts. We also know that the scale only tips in favor of security (70%) when financial apps come into play. But, when data breaches from some of the biggest names that touch our daily lives are as commonplace as they are, traditional solutions are clearly falling short.

How Civic Can Help

At Civic we’re working hard to solve these issues. By moving away from usernames, passwords, and third-party logins in favor of giving consent with biometrics from your phone, we transition to a world where convenience vs. security becomes a problem of the past. Users have greater control over where and how their data is tracked and used. Publishers get to provide content for their consumers without fear of personal data leaks. Simply put, decentralized access is democratized access.

Key Takeaways

Challenges for media:

  • GDPR and AB 375 limits the extent to which publishers can use consumer data
  • Publishers already face an uphill challenge in the form of walled gardens and steep price for access

Challenges for consumers:

  • Their data is shared repeatedly, often without consent, putting them at risk of data breaches
  • Must frequently choose between convenience and security

Why decentralized access

  • No more usernames or passwords
  • Reduced risk of data breaches
  • Consumer have greater control over their personal data
  • Publishers are no longer beholden to walled gardens