Steve Morgan


Right now, companies and users are being faced with something of a conundrum: how to provide goods and services that are tailored to an individual’s needs and interests while respecting their need for privacy. This is an issue that many have grappled with, and is a subject of considerable debate. To help answer this question, we spoke to several security experts who were able to provide considerable guidance on the matter. First up: Steve Morgan, the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, a leading researcher and publisher specializing in cybersecurity. 

We’ve seen consumers express a growing desire for privacy, while also demanding more personalized goods and services. How should brands reconcile these two contradictory demands?

Brands should directly ask consumers, in a much more overt way (no fine print!) for permission to deliver personalized information. Ask and ye shall receive.

What are the potential consequences for brands who don’t address their users’ privacy needs?

Abandonment. There’s always an alternative, no matter how big you are. For example, Yahoo Mail users (after they were hacked) have switched to Gmail and other email services.

What is the relationship between user experience and privacy?

They should be inextricably linked to each other. If someone walks into a store, they expect to be safe, and they are not under surveillance except for potential security cameras designed to catch thieves. People want the same experience online.

How should brands balance the need for a better user experience with their users’ need for privacy?

Respecting user privacy is in effect a change and the balance that brands should be striving towards.

What information are consumers willing to give up, and what do they get in exchange?

Brands can’t make assumptions. Some consumers are willing to give up much more than others. There can be certain demographics such as the elderly where they aren’t informed and may be willing to give up more – but that doesn’t mean brands should take it. All major brands should have a privacy council made up in part by outsiders to help make sure they’ve got the right policies in place.