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Roger Clarke's 'eConsumer Insecurity'

eConsumer Insecurity
Five Sensationalist Headlines, and Why They're True

Notes of 9 January 2013

For a presentation to the Wirtschaftsinformatik Forum
University of Koblenz-Landau, 17 January 2013

Roger Clarke **

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As the eCommerce era began 15 years ago, I identified several factors which I argued would be significant impediments to adoption by consumers - an unwillingness to pay for invisible benefits; an inadequate basis for trust in the other party and in the value-transfer; privacy threats; enforced self-identification; and a lack of consumer protections (Clarke 1999a). B2C marketers were too excited to listen (Clarke 1999b), and as a result consumer adoption has always been one of the slowest-growing of all Internet metrics.

Fast-forward to 2013 ...

eConsumer Insecurity

Here's a cluster of propositions that at first sight may seem sensationalist, but that this presentation shows to be genuine assertions:

  1. Software on consumer devices becomes dated and local data is often not recoverable; but
    eConsumer services are a very bad deal
  2. Mobile devices are irretrievably insecure
  3. That's not a Password; It's a Passéword
    Kennwort wurde schon Bekanntwort
  4. Web technologies are designed to be insecure
  5. The spy in your pocket leaks your location, 10 times per second, and
    to far more organisations than you thought
  6. Unauthenticated payments are switching card risks from merchants to consumers
  7. Social media services have only one business model,
    and it's based on personal data exploitation and behaviour manipulation

Some Implications

Maybe it's time to re-visit the principles naively suggested to direct narketers many years ago (Clarke 1998, Clarke 1999b):

Other constructive measures also seem to have the ring of 'wishful thinking' about them, such as:

But the market rules, and avarice wins until eConsumers eventually recognise it, and find alternatives. So an alternative is for consumer-oriented services to be developed, such as Consumer-Oriented Social Media (Clarke 2012).

Some other ways to get there include:

Why This Matters

Consumers are important in their own right - there are billions of us.

Consumers are employees, and their personal behaviour and habits are imported into the workplace.

With the growing implementation of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, not just eConsumers' behaviour and habits, but also their own devices, are being applied in the workplace.

So eConsumer Insecurity directly translates into eOrganisational Insecurity.

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.

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Created: 5 January 2013 - Last Amended: 9 January 2013 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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