Germany and Privacy, a consumer perspective

Language is context bound and affects how you view the world.
Comparing native English speakers to German ones, a recent research found that monolinguals, when faced with the task of describing a scene, focus differently. Typically Germans would describe the presented scene in a holistic goal-orientated fashion while English natives would hone in on the action taking place, using the –ing morpheme.

And this is not the only difference between Germany and the UK.
The legal system in Germany is civil law based, as opposed to common law principles used throughout the UK and in the US, where judges through decisions of courts develop the law, as opposed to regulations adopted throughout the legislative process issued by the executive branch.

Historical events such as WWII or the Stasi’s mass surveillance practices in East Germany, as well as refueled discussions about country census data back in the 1980s, have continuously brought German Privacy concerns to the forefront.

According to the recent HBR article, Consumer Data: Designing for Transparency and Trust, Germans would be willing to pay more to protect their health information than citizens in Anglo-Saxon countries. The UK health history related bubble being probably related to the recent NHS care data issues.

Putting a price on data

Yet consumer perspective Privacy studies related to contextualized data uses remain extremely scarce. And while one could argue that the above study could benefit from normalization according to income, the real challenge remains one of creating a beneficial and transparent data ecosystems for all parties involved on a case by case yet repetitive scenario basis.

Germany is working towards giving more power to consumers in Privacy matters, paving the way for potential European class actions. It is not the only type of legislation that is helping shift power towards consumers and citizens alike.

Yet on the other side of this fragile equilibrium lies self-regulation, and tools to enhance transparency and trust. This so that we can all make informed choices about how our personal data is being accessed, computed and shared.
MyPermissions’ App Risk Privacy Index allows you to make such informed choices by comparing risk levels, examining application reputations and identifying risky behaviors so that you can make informed choices. Visit mypermissions.com.

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