Today, January 28, is a global Data Privacy Day. The perfect opportunity to reflect on the recent news and the role marketing professionals have to play in the upcoming privacy battle.
Take a look at just some of the headlines:
- Avast plugin recording web clicks
- Ring sending device data to Facebook
- Tech company scrapes billions of photos to create a facial recognition database
The stream of exposés just keeps on coming. It has never felt, ahem, better to live in a technological dystopia where privacy has increasingly become an empty word.
As a consumer, you should certainly pay attention to data practices of the companies whose products you use daily, be it Amazon, Google or Facebook. It is no longer a question of if sensitive private information about yourself is being used by third-parties online. It is a question of how much. And what to do about it all.
So what now?
You can take lots of small steps to protect yourself (a blog post on just that is coming). You can quit Facebook and stop using Google products, although, in practice, that's already too much for a lot of people. This also doesn't solve the issue of the retention of the accumulated data. It is ultimately up to the companies themselves to change their practices and be better. (The lean data movement is an example of how.)
Why address this in a marketing-first blog space? Because a lot of the unhinged data collection going on today fuels the multi-million-dollar advertising and marketing industry. It has never been easier to target and reach the precise kind of consumer you want to reach online, and we as marketers are all complicit in wanting this unprecedented access without thinking twice about paying for it.
I believe we should accept some responsibility, educate ourselves and our clients, and take steps to be more conscientious about what we use and what we share. The online surveillance economy model comes at too big of a cost, and we have a part to play in dismantling it. Because, sadly, we learned to rely on it too.
The article was originally published in the January 2020 SMMHQ newsletter. Subscribe.