Thirty-eight per cent (38%) of South African consumers say they are happy for the government to monitor their social media activity to keep its citizens safe – this is according to Kaspersky’s latest report, Social credits and security: Embracing the world of ratings.
At the same time, 67% of local respondents were ready to reveal their private data in exchange for a unique offer in an online shop. However, for many consumers, it still remains unclear how these automated systems of data-driven services work: 55% of all the users participating in the poll admitted they still can’t figure it out.
The growing popularity of social media networks and online services has led to a growth in social scoring systems – automated algorithms based on users’ behaviour and influence on the Internet.
Initially, such consumer assessment algorithms were integrated by financial institutions, as well as by e-commerce providers.
Today, such systems are applied in many other spheres and sectors. For example, governments and organisations can assess which people are eligible for a wide range of real-world services.
Moreover, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world saw the implementation of automated systems to control people’s movements, their ability to buy goods, and their access to social services.
However, this does not prevent organisations from further collecting data, especially when people are willing to let it happen. Kaspersky’s report reveals that over 40% of respondents globally would share sensitive private data to secure better rates and discounts, and to receive special services.
“Governments and organisations are digitising quickly, helping them to benefit from technology and consumer data in new ways. On the one hand, technology and data improve their services for people in order to make our lives easier. On the other, it’s not clear how much access to personal information and people’s lives they can request, and most significantly, how they will handle it,” says Marco Preuss, Director of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team in Europe.
“This is especially important during situations of global self-isolation when people have no other option but to rely on online services. And by needing to take control of public life today, people may lose control over their own lives tomorrow.”