New laws are currently being proposed in Parliament regarding the collection of marketing data and privacy. These laws follow closely on the footsteps of cookie opt-in laws that came into force in Europe at the end of May.
Rumblings about privacy have been always been a concern but the issue is hotting up. As more people share their personal details online in social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and even YouTube, the line being personal and public life is being blurred.
[quote]Apart from there being implications for a person's reputation, there is also potential for abuse.[/quote]
This is why governments are currently looking to alter privacy laws.
The fact is that tracking of data can now be brought done at a more personal level and this is where many can find this be a concern.
[quote]It then becomes a very difficult decision as to when you draw the line. [/quote]
Do you really want someone you don't know:
- Watching when you stopped and paused a video you were watching (and knowing that it is you)
- Selling you information from an ad after you made a comment about a particular issue
- Canvassing you for business after they saw your tweet that you need a new website
- Watching your actions as you land on a website and then asking you if you need a hand
- Knowing who was most attentive & engaged when watching a webinar
According to a blog post on the ADMA website:
"A disconnect in the privacy debate seems to arise through the misperception that companies want to personally identify us an individuals. However, there’s a big difference between understanding your customers wants and needs from a data perspective, and knowing them as a person. Organisations are interested in the former as a means of having a more relevant engagement with consumers."
Well said and whilst I mostly agree, I would add that the potential for abuse by individuals and smaller operations is much higher. When I am aware that people I know can track my own personal video watching habits because of my email address I get a little creeped out.
The thing is I don't want them watching what I do when they know me as a person, but I am happy to share my data in a more anonymous way. The fact is now I no longer watch videos when I know my email address is being tracked to a video.
On the whole though, I believe that the ability to obtain more data will ultimately mean that both marketers and consumer will benefit.
Marketers can more closely target their messages and match the message with the right person. They can use the data to better engage the audience. This means the consumer shouldn't be needlessly bombarded with irrelevant and boring messages.
Businesses can also use data to modify their products to meet the needs of their customers. This means that people get access to better products and services. This is of benefit to both the business and the consumer - and may become more important to local businesses as they face competition from an increasing globalised market.
The issue is a complex one but be warned new laws are coming whether we like it or not. There is still however some debate and concern on how these will shape up. According to the ADMA, concerns on the new law are centred around:
- The proposed inclusion of a prohibition on direct marketing.
- The proposed requirement to include an opt-out message in all marketing and advertising, sent to both customers and prospects, regardless of marketing channel – i.e. including social media (Facebook; Twitter; etc), online advertising, and mobile ads;
- The requirement to allow individuals to deal with a company on an anonymous or pseudonymous basis leading to concerns that databases cannot be kept up-to-date and accurate;
- New liability for companies that process or disclose data overseas with particular concern regarding cloud computing;
- Fines of $1.1m without current limitations.
Some big implications for marketers and businesses who use data.