Image courtesy of Netflix
Between last year’s Ashley Madison hack and Apple’s ongoing battle with the FBI, it’s clear that concerns surrounding data collection are at a tipping point.
On one hand, individuals — the millennial generation in particular — are more accepting of the fact that a company may be able to serve them better in exchange for information about their habits.
Do you curse Netflix when you log-on and see personalized movie suggestions? Probably not. Is the weekly playlist that Spotify puts together just for you a real headache? Again, not likely. That’s because Netflix analyzing a user’s viewing habits to showcase personalized movie suggestions on the homepage and Spotify curating playlists based on user listening habits are both relatively welcomed outcomes of data collection. Not many people are going to complain about better, more personalized service.
On the other hand, people aren’t as welcoming when corporations cross the fine line between serviceable and invasive. Remember when Target guessed a female patron was pregnant based on her buying habits? From a consumer point of view, this use of information can be interpreted as exploitation. Stories like the Target case demonstrate that society is not only aware of data collection, but they are increasingly worried about what it means for privacy.
As individuals continue to move towards data-rich environments, like social media and mobile, the influence of data in today’s society only grows. If a business wants to know details about its consumers, more information is available to them than ever before because of the expanding digital landscape. Businesses just have to remember: where there’s opportunity, there’s risk.
From tech to retail and everything in between, the issue of online privacy and data collection is going to echo throughout various industries this year. While there is more data available than ever before and more technology to help make sense of it all, the entire process of data mining is under close watch. Brands must tread lightly if they want to avoid future controversy, especially in 2016.