Privacy is the new digital issue of our time

September 16, 2013

AVG held an event in London on Wednesday to mark the launch of AVG 2014, but as well as celebrating its latest suite of products, part of the event was

AVG held an event in London on Wednesday to mark the launch of AVG 2014, but as well as celebrating its latest suite of products, part of the event was devoted to discussing one of the hottest technology topics around – Privacy.

David Ferguson, VP for Consumer and Mobile at AVG, hosted the event for journalists and media at the popular media hangout, the Hospital private members club in the heart of London’s Covent Garden.

Also attending and taking part in the discussion were AVG’s head of policy and blogger Siobhan McDermott, Dr Chris Brauer, co-director of the Centre of Creative and Social Technologies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Andrew Kellett, lead analyst at Ovum’s IT security team.

Privacy is the new security, pointed out MacDermott. Afterwards she said it was interesting how the panel agreed that the agenda had shifted away from cyber security to privacy and that this was now the digital issue of our age.

While many of us are still uninformed of the consequences of over-sharing information, Dr Brauer believes this will be short lived and once consumers are made aware of it, their attitudes changed quickly.

“People don’t understand a privacy violation until it happens, but once they do, they feel vulnerable and exposed and react by changing behaviour,” he added.

Andrew Kellett agreed that awareness was low. “I wonder what percentage of the population really cares about this issue. I think it’s quite low, but I believe it will grow over time. We are very lax in how we use things like Facebook and this can have an impact on our lives.”

He added that our social media activity allowed others to make judgements, such as whether they would consider having a personal relationship with us or even an employer to make a hiring decision based on our Facebook profile.

The one thing the panel unanimously agreed on was that the increasing value of our personal data. Dr Brauer named this “the commodification of our digital identity”.

He said people would wake up to the fact that their data was valuable and that they could exercise some control over that. He added that small changes can make a major difference.

“Take PrivacyFix for example. By letting people know that the terms and conditions across your social networks has changed, interested individuals can revisit their settings and ensure they are what they thought they were.

“I think the individual needs to be empowered and more knowledgeable to take control of their own privacy and information and I think that’s where the future is heading.”

While this is a nice plug for AVG PrivacyFix, Ferguson said this was the motivation behind the product.  “We believe we have got to help consumers and give them the tools that will empower them to understand what they are doing with their information and manage it effectively and that’s what PrivacyFix does.”

If you would like to find out more about AVG PrivacyFix then go to




September 16, 2013