How digital providers are treating your data might not please you

A recent study shows people are unhappy with companies sharing their data. SafeSwiss offers a way to limit what data of yours they can access.

If you're unhappy with what digital providers are doing with your data, SafeSwiss can help limit their access to it.

Companies are collecting your data and releasing it not only to law enforcement agencies who request it, but to other companies for profit. This is understandably distressing for consumers. SafeSwiss' encryption app offers a solution for those of you who want to preserve your privacy.

Consumers unhappy with providers sharing their information

More than 80 per cent of consumers would leave a provider that collected their data for reasons other than preventing terrorism.

The 2016 KPMG Consumer Loss Barometer surveyed 449 consumers and found that only 49 per cent said they would stay with a mobile carrier that was giving information to the government to aid the prevention of terrorist activities. If consumers discovered their mobile carrier was collecting personal information without their knowledge for other reasons, 82 per cent said they would leave that provider. These statistics illustrate the strength of users' desire to have control over what happens to their data and to limit the collection of their personal information.

"What consumers should be wary of is if the government, or a mobile carrier, begins collecting our personal information for reasons beyond protecting our physical safety," says Paul Wissmann, National Sector Leader for KPMG LLP's Media and Telecommunications practice. However, he acknowledges that the support of government monitoring to prevent terrorism is so high given the current global instability.

Legal information requests

Requests for information from government and law enforcement agencies are increasing. In the 2014-15 financial year, Australian mobile provider Telstra says it received 2,846 warrants for interception or access to stored communications. The total number of law enforcement requests it received was more than 5,000 than in the previous financial year. This does not include requests from national security organisations, as Telstra is legally prohibited from releasing that information. In the second half of 2015, Google says it alone received more than 40,000 requests, with that number jumping to over 44,000 for the first half of this year.

Legal information requests to Google are on the rise.Legal information requests to Google are on the rise.

Data mining and selling

Beyond the information companies are obligated to give up to legal requests, there is also the information they share voluntarily. WhatsApp's announcement that they were sharing user data with new owner Facebook went back on earlier promises and caused upset with customers, but it is not the only company engaging in this type of behaviour. US wireless provider Verizon, for example, sells its customers' smartphone data to businesses via its Precision Market Insights program.This information includes searches, app usage, location and other data.

Although Verizon says the data is stripped of any identifying features, the fact that it is collected at all is likely to make some users uncomfortable.

Unintended information sharing

The companies whose services you use may not be keeping your data secure enough on your behalf.

When providers collect data on their customers, the threat to your privacy goes beyond just what they're giving to law enforcement agencies or selling to other companies. The Yahoo data breach or the LinkedIn hacks in 2012 and earlier this year show that the practice of collecting and storing your information leads to compromised situations - you can keep yourself secure, but the companies whose services you use may not be keeping your data safe enough on your behalf.

SafeSwiss provides an encrypted solution

By using secure, encrypted communication like ours, you limit the amount of data that is being held on you by digital providers. Our Swiss location and method of end-to-end encryption allow us to limit the data we're able to give to law enforcement agencies who demand our users' information. We don't hold the the original encryption keys used in a SafeSwiss communication exchange, so we are unable to provide your information to legal demands, or to sell it to third parties.

SafeSwiss knows how much you value your data privacy - we do too. Try our free encryption app today to enjoy our data security solution.