Posted in Geolocation

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Was This a Week of “Tangible” Privacy Harm?

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
Photo taken from Ukranian protests in Kiev

Two events this week got me thinking of privacy harms. Now, I know the mere mention of “privacy harms” brings with it a lot of baggage and a ton of research, legal uncertainty, opinion and, well…ambiguity. I couldn’t possibly link to all the countless scholars, lawyers and activists who have tackled the question of what does, or does not, count as a harm, but I couldn’t help think that we may have seen some tangible harms we can all agree on this week.

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Privacy Engineering

Brick-and-Mortar Transparency: Are Phone Alerts the Best Notification for Collecting Consumer Data?

New technology allows retailers to collect data—such as location, contacts, apps installed—from their customers’ phones. But when we surveyed consumers, only 33 percent of them realized this might be happening. On the other hand, when we surveyed consumers about stores collecting only their location, this number increased to 50 percent. We know from previous research that, when people are not aware of data being collected and don’t expect it to happen—and then find out about it later—trust can be eroded. How, then, can businesses create transparency around data collection?

More from Ilana Westerman

Privacy Engineering

Brick-and-Mortar Retail: The Design Challenges of Communicating Consumer Data Collection

Increasingly, retailers are gathering data—such as location—from consumers’ devices when they are in a store. This data can be used by retailers to optimize merchandise layout and for other purposes. However, a recent survey we conducted shows that only 33 percent believe that this is happening.

Research confirms that consumers want transparency around data collection. If they don’t expect that data is being collected and find it out after the fact, trust in a brand can erode. Even if the consumer gets a benefit from the data collection, this negative ‘surprise factor’ is still there—and the negative reaction is even stronger when there is no clear benefit to them.

The resulting design challenge is to communicate to consumers that data is being collected, provide controls if consumers care to opt out and showcase how data collection can create value for the consumer.

More from Ilana Westerman

Trending

Will Retailers Have To Dial It Back in 2013?

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Offline tracking of consumers by retailers is popping up quite a bit in the news this week, which has me wondering what the end game might be.

First, we learned that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) still isn’t happy with Euclid Analytics—a company that has reportedly recorded the shopping habits of nearly 50 million Americans.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  Mobile Privacy Developments and Paths for Companies

By Mary Ellen Callahan, CIPP/US

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. But mobile companies should pick their direction with care, considering the words of the FTC Chair! (Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Last Thursday, at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit, the new FTC Chair Edith Ramirez identified mobile privacy as one of her top policy and enforcement priorities. Her statement is the most recent tacit acknowledgement that multiple federal and state government agencies are talking—seriously—about mobile privacy policy issues and have been for more than a year.

From a practical standpoint, what has happened, what should consumers expect in the future and how will these activities affect the mobile marketplace?