When someone unrelated to you asks you a personal question that you deem too private to answer, you tell them it is “none of your business,” right? Now, what would you say to someone whose business is collecting your personal information and selling it on profit? Business owners, digital marketing services and consumers alike are at an exciting turning point these days. Gathering information about consumers has never been as easy as it is now, especially when it comes to eCommerce. This immensely growing data makes extreme personalization possible. There are ever increasing concerns about privacy among users and various public interest groups. This article explores the various matters related to consumer privacy.
It’s not like that consumers care only about their privacy. A study conducted in 2017, showed that 80 percent of the 24,000 surveyed consumers indicated that they like services tailored to their interests. While 9 out of 10 consumers said that they thought it is essential that they know if their personally identifiable information is secure, and 86% of them want to be informed if their data will be passed on to third parties. Thus businesses have to tread a fine line between customization and privacy.
Here are some issues about these privacy concerns.
Mouse Print Contracts Need to Go Away
Only the most vigilant among us can say that they read every contract they agree upon completely. Most of us are culpable of ignoring the consequences and just clicking on “I Agree.” There are two reasons behind this. Firstly, the language of the contracts has so many legal terms that it confuses the normal brain. Second, the font of the so-called “mouse print contracts” is so small that even people with perfect eyesight cannot read them easily.
This trend is slowly changing, especially in the digital world. Due to the EU’s GDPR, and the anticipated legislation in the United States, big data firms like Facebook, Google, and others are changing their privacy policies, and making their terms of service more readable to consumers.
General Data Protection Regulation’s Impact on the USA
While mentioned above, let’s get into a little more detail of the European Union’s GDPR regulation. EU passed this law in 2016, to give the citizens and residents of EU more control over their personal information. The law requires businesses to handle the personal data of consumers to utilize “Pseudonymization” or “Full Anonymisation.” Further, the privacy settings need to be designed in a way that no information is available to the public without explicit consent.
The passing of this law in the EU led California to pass a similar bill, and other states are expected to follow soon. The Federal Communication Commission passed a similar ruling in October 2016, the Trump administration nullified by April 2017. While digital marketers can evade such rulings, for now, experts expect that this cannot go on much longer. Thus businesses need to prepare in advance and ensure more privacy in their service and informed consent in their terms of service.
The Right to be Forgotten
Although this issue is a subject of contention for years, it got a strong footing through the Spanish court ruling in the case Google Spain SL vs. Mario Costeja González in 2014. The complainant, González, wanted Google to remove the link to a 1998 newspaper article about an auction of his foreclosed house due to an unpaid debt. The petitioner said that he had since paid off the debt and this news listing hurt his reputation, plaintiff getting the ruling in his favor.
This opened a floodgate of requests for removal of links for Google and other search engines. Some of these requests, according to Google, came from criminals and politicians. While this is now a part of the European GDPR law and has been applied to varying degrees in other countries; this surely is a growing concern for search engines, social media marketers, and digital marketing services.
Ad-Blocking Extensions Blocking Ad Revenues
While such extensions have improved the user experience by blocking malicious and cumbersome ads from appearing, they also block ads that are relevant to the users.
However, good digital marketing services need not worry much about it. All they need to do is keep on creating quality content and maintain a trustworthy image. Asking users to disable the ad-blocker on their site does work if you are credible enough. Furthermore, it is a good strategy to allow users to stop watching specific types of ads in the future if they don’t like those ads.
One way or another, privacy concerns are not going away any time soon. Digital marketing services need to not only be aware of the various issues but also actively do something to tackle them head-on. It is in the best interest of the businesses to ensure privacy and data security of their users.