Data is Money. But Has It Gone Too Far?
If you take a stroll through recent history and bounce back to 1994, you can learn a few things. If you’re into film, then Forrest Gump and The Shawshank Redemption might catch your eye. The latter boasts the highest rating on IMDB, and the former is not far behind (in 12th place).
Beyond film, digital marketing has also seen some major changes since then. That same year saw the very first use of a banner ad, on the website www.hotwired.com. At a cost of $30,000, it reigned supreme as a beacon, drawing traffic and launching what would become a 227 billion major industry.
We call it the world of online advertising. But if we’re honest and remove her mask, it’s a market for personal data.
Data is Money
Yeah, well you might’ve perceived a slight negativity in my words. Rightly so.
In online advertising, there is too much collection and trading of sensitive data. Google and Facebook deserve gold medals in this arena.
Their business model is based on collecting data for advertising purposes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as it’s about collecting as part of finding helpful solutions for the end-user.
The story is complicated when data is collected with the help of a broad range of partners. Facebook and Google have contracts with app developers who send data about their users in exchange for their SDK (software development kit) solutions.
Extremely broad profiling occurs at this point,
as sensitive data is collected that, in some cases, you do not willingly share.
Apps can provide information about what medications you are taking or your blood pressure readings. In some cases, the exchange of data could include menstrual cycles, diet, heart rate and more. It gets personal.
Extremely broad profiling occurs at this point, as sensitive data is collected that, in some cases, you do not willingly share.
Did It All Go Too Far?
Over the years, collection of data has expanded to an excessive extent. T
oday, the question finally arises of the ethics of online advertising.
Facebook and Google prohibit the sending of sensitive data to their servers. But they still collect the data, ostensibly with their eyes closed.
Moving Towards Greater Transparency
The first step towards greater transparency was launched by Apple on its devices. But introducing a new restricted tracking rule, you can limit the amount of information companies receive about you. With this move, Apple will receive new users on its side and thus consolidate its position in the market as a leading tech company.
However, all that glitters is not gold.
Apple is actively developing its own advertising ecosystem which also depends on input data. Here we will see how, and to what extent, Apple will uphold its stated position on privacy.
Nevertheless, their move is a step in the right direction, and one which other companies should follow.
My Data, My Rules
Your data is your property. It is not meant to be resold on the market, like fresh-baked cookies.
Companies must clearly communicate what information will be passed on and receive clear approval from you before doing so.
But data collection will only intensify. You can’t stop the cycle. You can only hope to limit it. Even limitation is a victory in the fight for your privacy.
You can only hope to limit it. Even limitation is a victory in the fight for your privacy.