While thousands of companies and entities look to grab people's data for various reasons, the commonly stated idea that folks don't care about privacy is untrue, according to the Electric Coin Company, the entity behind privacy-focused crypto asset Zcash.
Citing inconvenience and other excuses, some people claim they do not care about privacy, Electric Coin Company Product marketing staff Elena Giralt said in a presentation at CoinDesk's digital Consensus 2020 conference. She added, however:
If you take a step back, it's helpful to understand that billions and billions of dollars go into developing technology platforms and systems to harvest data because there's a really lucrative business model behind it."
The digital age is a data grab
As more of the world goes digital, entities often look to harvest customers' data, both for illegal and legal uses.
Numbers from 2020 show that nefarious parties stole data from 500,000 Zoom customers, while Facebook saw information leaked from 30 million users in 2018. Google even harvests users' data on a regular basis as part of a revenue model of "legally acceptable" privacy infringement.
Businesses condition the public to care less about privacy
Technology outfits use various measures to make privacy look like an unachievable hassle, Giralt noted. The Electric Coin Company staffer quoted Carnegie Mellon University researcher and professor Alessandro Acquisti as saying:
When somebody tells you that people don't care about privacy, consider whether the game has been rigged so that they cannot care about privacy."
Even in the crypto space, transactions are not private. Most blockchain activity is posted online to an immutable public ledger. Assets such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR), however, house features catering to privacy-focused users, blocking the world from peering into people's funds and activities.
"The big idea is that our virtual lives need crypto privacy," Giralt said. "Crypto needs privacy and privacy needs protection."
Rand Corporation recently put out a research report showing that criminals are not embracing Zcash en masse, even though the asset is privacy-focused.