Forbes has profiled Eben Moglen, a Columbia Law School professor, who says that that “knowing customers is what makes businesses work,” but he is not thrilled by having a personal relationship with them:
“The interest of the consumer and the interest of the business are not the same. In the same way that in the old world we left behind the interest of the cattle and the interest of the slaughterhouse were not the same. The consumer is the product,” [Moglen said].
Moglen is not a technophobe, and even runs the Software Freedom Law Center, which promotes open source software. But he is an example of how the technically savvy and early technology adopters can be as concerned about the implications of new technology as luddites. Bitcoin is another example of how not everyone embraces the Facebook ideal that privacy is not important. Payments companies should take note that in a world filled with social networking, not everyone wants to share.
This quest for privacy is not always the result of something bad. As Mercator noted in its research viewpoint Payments Privacy is Not Always Sinister, customers may have a variety of legitimate reasons for wanting to keep their purchases out of various databases. Enabling private electronic payments may be a business opportunity for those companies who can develop new payments forms and who understand how to manage fraud and money laundering risks.
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