Online privacy should not be choice but a right: AVG

Security vendor sees trust and privacy being linked together in the online world

As people begin to experience the online world, a common concern AVG A/NZ general manager, Sam Hendry, has seem among end users is around trust.

Hendry made the observation during the launch of AVG Internet Security 2014 in Sydney, where he said people nowadays are concerned about whom may be watching them and why.

“The questions of whom we trust and why we trust them have become an active choice,” he said.

“We’re cynical and we seek out reasons to trust, and we actively seek out who we feel we can trust and have confidence in.”

Hendry adds that trust and privacy go hand-in-hand, and one can not exist without the other.

“Trust is a by-product of trusting someone’s privacy,” he said.

“However, with the Internet, not everyone respects your privacy.”

Hendry admits that one of the reasons is maybe because privacy hard to define and interpret.

“Is it a right of a civilised society?” he asked.

“Or is it just an idea, something that we have to actively chose in life and never presume to enjoy?”

At AVG, Hendry said it is the former but a lot of companies would say it is the latter.

“They said it is the trade for using free products and services, but it shouldn’t have to be that way,” he said.

“At least, we should know when we make the trade, because now it is rarely clear.”

The data explosion

In 2015, Hendry said the volume of annual Internet traffic is expected to pass the zetabyte threshold.

While this hyper connectivity presents an opportunity to bring the world together, he said it can also lead to tremendous exposure for individuals.

“All that data, financial, social, family, photographs, are being shared through the devices we use,” he said.

All the while it is being collected and analysed, some of it with our knowledge, but there are some companies that are gaining such insight into the lives of end users without their permission or knowledge.

“Connectivity is changing our world, society, culture and concept of privacy and ideas about who or what we trust,” Hendry said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.