Generation Y Employees and Privacy

Sue Marquette Poremba
Slide Show

Check out highlights from Lora Bentley's poll of industry experts on the topic of online security.

I recently spoke with an information security manager about social media issues in the corporate world, and she told me one of the greatest challenges is getting Generation Y employees to keep information private. These employees, most of them born in the 1980s and 1990s, are the computer generation who have been sharing their life stories online from the time they could turn on a computer. What private means to them isn't what private means to anyone older than 35.


It's a concern that was backed up by a Future of the Internet study conducted by Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. The study found that 67 percent of technology experts believe:


By 2020, members of Generation Y (today's "digital natives") will continue to be ambient broadcasters who disclose a great deal of personal information in order to stay connected and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities. Even as they mature, have families, and take on more significant responsibilities, their enthusiasm for widespread information sharing will carry forward.

RSA surveyed more than 1,000 Gen Y adults about online security issues and found that young adults regularly engage in risky behaviors that compromise their privacy and reputation.


The concern within the enterprise is (or should be) that if Gen Y employees struggle to keep personal information private, can they be trusted with sensitive business data?


The answer is yes, but security departments need to provide solid policy and education on what can and cannot be discussed in social media.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 14, 2010 4:36 AM Joseph A'Deo Joseph A'Deo  says:

I work for a security company (VeriSign) and even I have a hard time believing that Gen Y-ers are on Facebook and Twitter handing out corporate secrets for one good reason: they'll lose their jobs, and those are hard to come by. Yes, kids are a bit more forthright with their personal lives online, but they're also aware of more security measures like extended validation ssl -- which FBI elder claimed he almost fell prey to a banking phishing attempt? -- and most of the smarter ones are also creating likable, marketable "brands" out of themselves online. Who ARE these "technology experts"?


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