consumer warning

It was four years ago that I first proposed breach warning labels. There were fewer breaches back then, and when it came to cybersecurity there were even fewer true believers than there are today.

In the wake of the Equifax breach and the more recent revelations regarding Cambridge Analytica, a slow trickle of pundits and lawmakers have shown interest in the ideas that us true believers have been pushing for a while now. It’s a welcome development, because we need all the help we can get.

The time has come for consumer labeling on the digital experience—generally when it comes to consumer privacy—and specifically with regard to how our information is being used, whether the entity using it is selling personal data to third parties and what those parties can do with that data—in short, the Wild West days of digital information robber barons making a fortune off our personal lives is now coming to an end.

What can be known about us by our online behavior will not be considered fair game in the years to come, but rather a battleground of consumer interest versus corporations trying to expand the boundaries of what consumers are willing to accept.

While breach notification is crucial, it doesn’t cover the breach of trust that underlies the entire surveillance economy.