It wouldn’t be January if we weren’t overrun with predictions about the new year. The biggest area for such activity may now be politics, given upcoming changes in our nation’s capital. But I’m guessing technology predictions are a close second. For us, that raises the question, “What about technology privacy?”
The folks at Business Insider are among the many who’ve rounded up what they see as the most likely tech changes coming down the pipe in 2017. And wouldn’t you know it? Most of those expected changes involve a trade of your personal data for a savings of money, time, or headache. This is a trade-off we’re all familiar with already—it’s just that most of us opt for convenience every single time; a famous study in New York showed that many people were willing to give up part of their Social Security number…in exchange for a cookie. (People, stop!)
- Your car will get smarter. Well, maybe not that ’92 beater your wife’s been hounding you to get rid of, but the self-driving cars coming from Tesla, Uber, and others might work together to reduce the chances of a crash, and share data from all the miles they’re driving so that one car’s experience makes every car better. Of course, that means your location, travel habits, and the information you use to authenticate into your car might be up for grabs in the case of a hack. Worth the trade?
- Virtual reality will change live events—and therapy. You read that right. Not only might you go to your next concert by slipping on a VR headset from your couch (hey, saves on parking!), treatment for PTSD, stroke, and more might be available in VR form. Rest assured that fraudsters will be in the mix too, trying to snap up your personal information.
- Doctors will rely on gigantic data sets to improve treatment. This, of course, has huge advantages. The more data your doctor can access, the more tailored and reliable your treatment will be. The tradeoff is that there will be many, many more ways to access your health information. (Remember how much your medical data is worth to a thief?)
Convenience is accelerating, and that’s not going to stop. But it comes at the cost of your personal information, which will likely end up in more places, accessible to more people. Sure, security technology is improving in leaps and bounds, too, but it’s got to keep pace with the new avenues to your data that are opening daily.
Assuming you’re not interested in moving to a cabin in the mountains and swearing off technology, the only thing to do is make sure you know the best ways protect yourself—and let us be your backstop when you can’t. Because if you’re a victim of identity theft as a LifeLock member, we’ll be here to help restore your good name.
See you in the future!
Posted by Jeff Rutledge, associate editor