Close ☰
Menu ☰

Defining and defending the interests of future consumers

Posted on: Thursday 27th of October 2011

Consumer Focus, the statutory consumer champion for England, Wales and Scotland, has asked Ctrl-Shift to add to its body of research regarding how use of the internet and new technologies have made powerful new approaches to consumer empowerment possible. Specifically we have been asked to help build an inventory of all the potential consumer risks and downsides of the emerging digital age.

The goal of this research is to build a publicly accessible database of all the potential ‘digital detriments’, to update this database as new issues arise. This is to provide an understanding of what the issues are for consumers to try to ensure that new developments in the digital world work in their interests. This will allow proactive work to head off or avoid potential problems before they become too entrenched in the system.

So far we have highlighted eight overarching issues and a number of consumer detriments in each:

  • privacy in a surveillance society;
  • digital identity management;
  • information access and trustworthiness;
  • the downsides of e-commerce;
  • shifting boundaries of responsibilities and rights;
  • new concentrations of unaccountable power; and
  • the fast pace of technological power.

But we’d now like to ask your help to further ‘crowd-source’ the list. We’re embracing the idea that a large number of people are better placed to forecast the future than a small number of experts.

Please contribute your ideas and suggestions. Are there other overarching issues we should be highlighting? Or other detriments such as the potential pitfalls or downsides of new geolocation data? Of face recognition technologies? The unintended consequences or data intrusion potential of peer-to-peer information sharing sites?

We’d love to hear from you and please email Claire if you have any suggestions, or have read any research you can point us to that throws light on the issues raised.