Cape Town – Young people who appear lax about their online identity and security are likely more naive than an indicator of a new openness of the internet, says a researcher.
“Young people seem to be oblivious to the dangers of oversharing. This does not imply that there is a notion of openness – rather of uninformed behaviour,” Vince Resente, researcher Intel told Fin24.
His view resonates with Gartner that found that young people to have more relaxed attitudes about security.
“Young people tend to have a different attitude toward security. My kids have different attitudes toward security than most of the adults that I deal with,” Brian Burke, Gartner analyst specialising in enterprise architecture told Fin24.
Intel has worked with the University of Pretoria, government departments and others to build a wellness kit that informs young people about the dangers of reckless sharing on the internet.
Burke argued that it is usually older people who are concerned about their reputations as well as finances that make them more aware about securing their personal data.
“I think that people who have things to protect are becoming more security conscious and identity theft is becoming more of a concern.
“Often young people, who may not be as concerned about reputational risk and things like that – they tend to have a different attitude toward security and I would be a genius if I could predict what would happen over time,” he said.
The theft of personal information can be correlated with the increasing criminal trend of identity theft which often leaves victims in dire financial situations.
The Fraud Prevention Association found that there were 3 600 cases of identity theft in 2014 and the organisation predicted as increase in that number to 4 000 by the end of 2015.
In SA, organisations are bound by the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act which imposes stiff penalties for careless handing of personal data.
“Companies would have to adhere to data sharing and protection laws, just like they support the new Popi act. As much as companies need to protect consumers' personal data, so do governments need to adhere to the same,” said Resente.
However, the fact that people choose to share personal data on social networks means that they might be exposing themselves to cyber data thieves.
“Social media companies have all got T&Cs, which include stipulations around personal data sharing, and most users of their services accept these without even reading them. This causes situations where personal data sharing gets blamed on the company rather than the individual who actually ‘Opted In’,” Resente said.
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