Box CEO: Most internet users will ditch privacy for online services

Aaron Levie on stage, Boxworks 2019

Most people will trade their private data to continue using digital services like Google, Box CEO Aaron Levie said on Thursday.

Levie made the comments after being asked about the newly enforced California Consumer Privacy Act on CNBC's Closing Bell.

He said the legislation will have "huge business-model implications" for internet companies who rely on user data to sell advertisements, especially if a similar law were enacted nationwide. But he added that laws of these sorts probably wouldn't have a major impact on companies, except compliance costs.

The California Consumer Privacy Act is new legislation that came into effect on New Years Day. It's designed to improve the rights and protections afforded to data subjects residing in the US state.

It's considered to be one of the most progressive and strictest data protection laws in US history, mirroring many of the protections provided to EU residents under the GDPR. Its aim is to improve how much control data subjects have over their data and force more transparency from companies that process personal information.

"I do think actually this is going to cause the ultimate test for consumers, to really make the decision and say, 'Is the value we're getting from these services worth possibly some of the data we're giving up?'" said Levie.

"And generally, I think that most consumers will make that trade, because of the fact that these experiences we're getting and the consumer applications we're using do bring a lot of value to our lives."

While services like Google and Facebook do bring value to users, the exchange of personal data for them has always brought up issues of privacy violations, many of which bleed into human rights cases.

In November, Amnesty International claimed mass harvesting of data by the 'big five' companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google – was violating people's right to privacy, and restricted freedom of expression.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.