It seems the further we advance with technology, the more that the lines between what is okay when collecting personal data and what is not blur. At the moment, the biggest power surge in the marketing industry has been the world of information that has come with being able to access people’s personal information. This information includes consumer’s location, contact details, friends, and can go as deep as their sleeping habits. It’s helped companies better understand their consumer and deliver effective and relevant campaigns.
So is taking people’s personal information a reasonable step towards the greater good? Or an invasion of privacy?
Essentially, the purpose of using peoples personal data is with good intention. Companies want to ensure that the product is relevant to the demographic they are targeting, and that they are likely to take an interest in it. This is significantly more valuable to the consumer than being targeted randomly and seeing ads for products that are totally irrelevant to them.
However with great power comes great responsibility, and as we have seen with various large scale companies in the past, sometimes they just can’t handle it.
For example last year Facebook announced that over 90 million users’ data had been compromised by hackers due to a security weakness in Facebook’s coding. This was the biggest hack in history to our current knowledge, and on a platform people use in such a personal way, it was highly concerning. Millions of people were concerned as to what these cybercriminals could do with their private information. Even Mark Zuckerberg’s details were leaked through this incident, so it’s safe to say no one was safe.
This is where things get tricky, because if a company can’t guarantee the security of our private information, why should they be allowed to access it in the first place? But at the same time, someone who lives in Sydney doesn’t want to see ads for a warehouse sale happening in Melbourne. So where do we draw the line?
Are the risks that come with data security just an inconvenience we need to look past in order for companies to adequately target the right demographics? Or is giving up our privacy to see ads tailored to us just not worth it?
And really, do we even have a choice?