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Over a third of citizens ready to disclose social media activity for monitoring – report

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The growing popularity of social media networks and online services has led to a rise in social scoring systems

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THIRTY-eight percent of South Africans say they are happy for the government to monitor social media activity to keep its citizens safe, according to cybersecurity provider Kaspersky’s latest report.

About 67% of respondents were also ready to reveal their private data in exchange for a unique offer in an online shop. 

The growing popularity of social media networks and online services has led to a rise in social scoring systems.

According to Kaspersky’s report, 19% of local respondents who participated in the survey from around the world have heard of a social credit system. 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 – which begs the question: Are people actually ready for this?

Thus, 55% of consumers have experienced issues in understanding how a social credit system works. 

People can find it is impossible to discover their score, how they are being calculated and how they can be corrected if there are inaccuracies. 

According to Kaspersky’s overview of security of social scoring systems, such schemes can be particularly vulnerable to artificial manipulation, like being able to lower someone’s score for various purposes. Additionally, like any other computer system, they are susceptible to different types of attacks.

The report reveals that over 40% of respondents globally would share sensitive private data to secure better rates and discounts, and to receive special services. This indicates that consumers are much more prepared to share their social media profiles for other aspects of their daily lives.

“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 improves 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. 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,” said Marco Preuss, director of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team in Europe.

Consumers are advised to be conscious of personal information they share online. Delete account and history wherever possible when you stop using an app or online service and make sure to check which connected services have access to your personal accounts. Remain vigilant about your online activities.

Also use a reliable security solution for comprehensive protection from a wide range of threats.