Your average consumer is very aware of the impact the modern online world and internet has on your everyday life. In today’s world the actions and decisions you make on the internet very quickly and consistently begin to start circulating in your personal world where you feel like you say something and receive an advertisement for it the next second. This is because the industry of data collection has skyrocketed and there is no looking back for digital marketing and advertising. It is a lot easier for companies to serve personalized advertisements to customers due to the vast amount of information they have on you. Data has allowed companies to serve personalized offers or deals to specific individuals and helps improve consumers’ shopping experience while enabling businesses to sell more. Seems like a win-win right?
Unfortunately not because a lot of these companies up until recent legislation like the CCPA and GDPR have been outright taking advantage of the unaware consumer and have been selling data created by their consumers for their own profit. The industries of digital marketing and data privacy or cybersecurity are closely intertwined, but are at odds with each other. Marketing and advertising agencies probably don’t care for data privacy whereas informed consumers and watchdogs or privacy experts don’t care if they never get a targeted ad in their life again. So, how is privacy impacting marketing and how do you find the middle ground? How are companies contributing to big tech’s monopoly of data collection?
Big Tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and more are taking consumers data via brands. While it may seem obvious that big tech has their hands all over your data a lot of times it is through other brands and companies that use big tech in the background. Companies and brands have so many different ways of collecting consumer data on their webpages but generally there are three ways of collecting user data. Companies collect data by directly asking customers, by indirectly tracking customers, and by attaching other sources of customer data to the set just collected. In an interview with Business News Daily, Liam Hanham a data science manager at Workday said “The bottom line, though, is that companies are using a cornucopia of collection methods and sources to capture and process customer data on metrics, with interest in types of data ranging from demographic data to behavioral data.”
There are the simple data collection methods that companies use like viewing the consumer activity on their websites, social media pages, consumer history, but also more advanced tracking techniques like location-based advertisements and internet-connected device’s IP address. The brands build a profile of you no matter where you go or what device you use. Once this profile is built, there is no escaping the targeted advertisements because these companies are then often selling and sharing the data they have collected with other brands and companies. It is now considered standard practice for companies to sell customer information and other data to third-party sources. After being collected, the data is traded on a daily basis in its own data marketplace. It is a never-ending cycle.
How do you break the cycle? By pushing and increasing the media coverage surrounding data privacy laws and the need for a Federal Data Privacy Law. America needs its own version of the EU’s GDPR which lays out the rules of data capture, storage, usage, and sharing for companies and consumers. It not only matters for companies based in the EU, but for any company that collects EU citizen’s data. The GDPR and Irish Head Data Regulator have been going at it in court for years with Facebook because of their Dublin based EU headquarters. The GDPR hands out hefty fines and violations, as does the CCPA to a lesser extent, but there still needs to be more done to make companies want to become compliant. Companies should want to be compliant to build trust and transparency with their customers because it will only encourage them to use that business more. America specifically has shown over the last couple years that they are ready for companies to start taking responsibility for shady data collecting practices by proposing data privacy laws in over 16 different states. Sixteen different states either with a law in place or proposed data protection legislation is clearly only going to get bigger. A National Data Privacy Law would help businesses and consumers gain a clearer interpretation of what is expected from both parties and how consumer data is treated.
While there may be some time before a National Data Privacy Law is turned into fruition, companies should still make sure they are compliant now because they will be hit with a flood of legal cases and fines regarding CCPA compliance. Last year, Data Protection Report published findings on a randomly selected 50 of the Fortune 500 companies websites and found that:
- Most companies do not have a “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” Button on their homepage.
- Companies are split on whether to offer CCPA rights to non-California consumers and often provide a California specific notice to California residents.
- Many companies are not in full compliance with the proposed regulations.
These are fortune 500 companies, not small mom and pop shops. The violations and fines for some of these companies could be astronomical. On top of the actual fines there is the actual legal process itself which can be incredibly arduous. Save yourself the time if you own a company who collects and sells any sort of consumer data by becoming CCPA and GDPR compliant. If your company isn’t already compliant, what are you waiting for? If you don’t, you could be hit for massive fines and violations that may potentially ruin your business in more ways than one.
A super easy way to ensure your website is compliant is to download our Consent Management Platform. Data law compliance puts you at risk for fines and fees. On top of these, your advertising and marketing campaigns may be impacted by failure to implement privacy signals. From instagram popup feeds to your website in Safari, we’ve got your data privacy covered. In less than 1 hour your website can be privacy-compliant. Get a demo or install on Shopify today.