There isn’t a consensus on whether in the next decade we’ll have a commonly-accepted “privacy-rights infrastructure” that balances business innovation and individual privacy options, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Research Center and Elon University.
It’s part of a project where more than 12,000 “experts and members of the interested public” were invited to share their thoughts on the “likely future of the Internet,” according to the report. Roughly 2,500 people responded to the privacy question. Thursday’s report is part of a series Pew and Elon University has been releasing on the future of the Internet and technology.
According to the report, 55 percent of respondents answered no while 45 percent responded yes to this question:
Will policy makers and technology innovators create a secure, popularly accepted, and trusted privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025 that allows for business innovation and monetization while also offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information in easy-to-use formats?
The report also lays out themes in the responses.
Interestingly, the idea that “public life is the new default” was a theme the report pointed out in both the affirmative and negative answers.
For those who didn’t think there would be a commonly-accepted privacy infrastructure in the next decade, the report sums up a common theme in their answers this way:
Living a public life is the new default. It is not possible to live modern life without revealing personal information to governments and corporations. Few individuals will have the energy, interest, or resources to protect themselves from ‘dataveillance’; privacy will become a ‘luxury.”
But the idea of a default public life was also marked out as a theme in the answers from those who did anticipate a privacy agreement by 2025. From the report:
Living a public life is the new default. People will get used to this, adjust their norms, and accept more sharing and collection of data as a part of life—especially Millennials and the young people who follow them. Problems will persist and some will complain but most will not object or muster the energy to push back against this new reality in their lives.
Another interesting theme the report describes among people who didn’t anticipate a privacy infrastructure in the next decade was the idea that different cultures have different views on privacy making it impossible for a consensus on “how to address civil liberties issues on the global Internet.”