Privacy, Personalisation, Choice, and the Jingle-Jangle Fallacy.

Privacy, Personalisation, Choice, and the Jingle-Jangle Fallacy. 1280 1280 StJohn Deakins

We get very confused about the word ‘Privacy’.

The problem is that the word privacy can mean two very different things – there’s our everyday real life definition of privacy, and then there’s the online definition of privacy.

In academic circles, this confusion over the meaning of words is known as the ‘Jingle-Jangle Fallacy’.

The Jingle Fallacy is where one word has two very different meanings (bat or Bat); the Jangle Fallacy is where two different words both have the same meaning (sofa, couch, divan).

Privacy and the Jingle Fallacy

In real life (IRL), the sharing of any information requires effort. To share a thought we have to say it, to make knowledge public we announce it, blog about it, print it, broadcast it.

In the Digital world – at least in its current form – it takes almost zero effort to share information about ourselves, mostly without us realising it. Share a picture on Instagram once and it can be copied a thousand times. If you want to stop your browsing history to be shared, you have to choose and install an ad blocker.

In real life, the Online default is that we have to expend effort to *stop* our personal information being shared.

Privacy, Personalisation and the Jangle Fallacy

In the Digital world we talk a great deal about two things that should actually have the same outcome:

The first is Privacy. The second is Personalisation. They both give us better choices.

Privacy: Our digital privacy is in the news all the time. Apple is removing advertising trackers on the iPhone, and Google is banning cookies. It’s all about how our personal data is used. It’s all about us having choice.

Personalisation: All digital services thrive on personalisation. Whether it be your social feeds, your Google search, Amazon recommendations, what to watch next on YouTube or Netflix, or a nudge to take more steps. More importantly, digital personalisation will give us profoundly better education and health choices, with options tailor-made to who we are. It’s all about us having better choices.

Privacy, Personalisation & Choice

Privacy and personalisation both mean choice.

Digital Privacy means making it easy for people to have the same choice over sharing that they have in real life – the choice to make information public or to keep information private. The choice of when and where to share data for greater personalisation and unlock more… choice.

To look at it another way, greater ‘choice’ is the biggest promise of the digital age. To deliver choice, privacy and personalisation must work together, as one. So far, the giants of our digital age, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, have failed to deliver this to us. They only deliver personalisation if we submit all of our data to them. The more personalisation we want, the more data we will have to give – until all of our lives’ data are stored in their digital silos.

Designing for Choice

What’s been missing – up to now – is the right technology to clear up the confusion. We need technology that puts us all in control of all of our data, while holding zero data itself. Technology that allows us all to choose how we share our own “zero-party data” in order to unlock more of the personalisation and choice that we expect. A system that gives us choice, and helps us to choose, with ease and on our terms. This is the ‘Zero Data’ platform that we are creating at CitizenMe. 

CitizenMe = Choice through Zero Data.

StJohn Deakins

StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.

All stories by: StJohn Deakins