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Disregard to Consumer Privacy Act by Businesses
Consumers often complain that because of so much surveillance and data being dug up about them by companies, they feel creeped out and unsafe. Today, companies are moving towards addressable messages, which means that the advertisement that is going to be shown to you on your social media platforms or television systems is all going to be customized on the basis of:
The sites that you visit.
The time you spend on different websites.
The search terms that you use.
The people that you hang out with
The places you hang out at and others.
Consumer Privacy and Data Breach
Companies are attempting to record and understand each and every move of the consumer in order to sell better, advertise better, and produce better. This step by the company is actually violating the privacy of the consumer. In today’s article, we will be diving deep into the different types of consumer privacy breaches done by companies, the platforms that are used by the companies to collect the data, and some of the government measures to protect the privacy of the consumers.
Various Mediums Through Which Companies Collect Consumer Data
Companies do not rely on one source of data but collect data from various sources and then combine all of them to jump to logical and generalized conclusions. These statistics help the company sell more effectively. Some of the sources that the company uses are:
It is very common for consumers to visit retail stores for their daily or weekly purchases. The types of consumer data that can be leaked through this medium are −
What types of goods does the particular consumer generally purchase?
What goods are most frequently picked up from the aisle and purchased by the consumer?
Through the CCTV surveillance, how many minutes did the consumer look at the product before adding it to the cart?
The basic contact information and demographic information of the consumer
How frequently do they visit the shop or purchase a product?
What is the average time between two purchase cycles?
Companies can gather the consumer’s email address or their Facebook page information when they are using a coupon generated online and what keywords the consumer used to get the particular coupon, among other things.
A device made for our convenience can say a lot about us that companies can access for their benefit. Marketers and research analysts can have information like
Where you are currently? How much time did you spend at a particular destination? Like, when do you visit the nightclub, coffee shops, yoga studios, parks, shopping malls, and others?
The companies can use the information about your location to get a picture of your entire life and what you do every day.
Who you are?
what you purchase.
Which sites do you visit? How much time do you spend on each side?
Needless to say, your Gmail, Facebook, and other social media sites are connected, and that information, to some extent, also becomes handy to them.
The time you spend watching TV, the shows that you watch, the advertisements that you do not skip, and others can help marketers draw a picture of the type of life you are living, including your age, gender, educational background, profession, interests and hobbies, and others. Information that marketers can gather about you is:
Second-to-second record spent on each channel or show.
Which website did you visit on your phone or laptop after visiting a particular advertisement?
What advertisement do you skip?
What shows do you watch and rewatch?
Total time spent watching TV.
Vizio − The company is a smart TV manufacturer. They admitted that they were collecting this sort of data from their consumers and selling it to analytics companies for their research without the consent of the viewers or their consumers. The consumers were unaware and, hence, cheated by the company.
Social Media Platforms
4.7 billion people are on social media today and are using it. Social media is a great way to connect with people, but it is also known as the best medium to collect information about individuals and their preferences. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Hike, Telegram, WhatsApp, and YouTube are just some of the social media platforms widely used. Some of the data that social media can easily have access to are:
Your basic contact, demographic, and location information
Social media platforms can also capture your preferences when it comes to a particular type of content, product, service, event, etc.
Social media platforms can have access to all your chat and calling data.
With the trend of posting where you've been on social media, What did you do there? what you ate, and so on. Companies now have all this information at their fingertips.
Companies also have access to your subconscious and emotional needs through your activities on social media platforms and others.
Facebook − the social media company, is known for collecting such private information about its users and using it to conduct studies or selling it to various analytics companies for money in return. The company uses the data collected to also increase the users' engagement and is notoriously famous for showing you content that people similar to you have viewed, liked, commented on, or shared.
Consumer Data Privacy Laws
The Federal Trade Commission has implemented certain policies in which consumers are given access to the data collected about them and are also given the opportunity to edit some of the data that is untrue or incomplete.
In India, a government bench has been set up to provide social media users with justice in case of certain difficulties or unfair practices, and at the same time, keep a vigilant eye on the type of data being shared by the users.
The Indian government as well as the US government banned certain Chinese applications that were gathering information about the citizens. To name a few, it would be Tiktok, PUBG, and others.
Companies today collect personal and sensitive data from customers in order to better serve them and promote their products. They argue that with this data, they are only developing products that consumers might need or will need. In this cutthroat environment, companies have to fight with each other to satisfy their consumers better, and through the data collected and studies done, they can only serve their consumers better, but on the other hand, we have not also understood the concern of the consumers, who are feeling like guinea pigs for the experiments of the company. Companies and consumers must find a happy medium if they are to succeed. a method for companies to collect information while also allowing consumers to choose which data to share.
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