Home > CDNTech, Digital Policy, Privacy > Privacy vs Marketing in The Digital Era

Privacy vs Marketing in The Digital Era

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner this week released a survey of Canadian consumers done last year with respect to online privacy. The survey of 1,500 Canadians found that 81 per cent believe it is very important for webmasters to inform users on how their personal information is being collected, and how the company uses that information, and 68 per cent had chosen not to use a site or service because they were uncomfortable about the terms of the sites, or service privacy policy.  Last week I posted several posts on how the NSA spying debates have effected US businesses and may end up costing Canadian IT jobs.

The Privacy Commissioner also reviewed 300 websites and companies over the course of the past year and found that 30 of those sites didn’t have any privacy policy listed at all.  In a recent blog post Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart called out the policies of the fast food chain A&W “which collects personal information such as photos, addresses and dates of birth for various initiatives, has a 110-word privacy policy tacked on to the very end of the Terms and Conditions that offers nothing but a blanket promise of compliance with the law.”

Stoddart also called on Bell Media with respect to their privacy policy stating no e-mail address has been listed for consumers to contact the company if they have any questions, or concerns relating to their privacy policy.  Stoddart also found that privacy policies are lacking in the mobile app sector during the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) Internet Privacy Sweep a few weeks back which found:

  • 21 per cent of websites and 54 per cent of mobile apps had no privacy policy at all.
  • Mobile apps with privacy policies often linked to websites that didn’t specifically address the collection and use of information within apps.
  • 33 per cent of websites had privacy policies that lacked relevant information, such as details about how information was collected and used.
  • 31 per cent of websites had privacy policies that weren’t very readable, often because they quoted directly from legislation.

I also came across an interesting discussion between media futurist and former music label executive Gerd Leonhard and Canadian Doug Stevens aka RetailProphet on privacy and marketing in the digital era in which I found very interesting. Stevens is an author and also a contributor to CTV’s App Central program. The discussion centers on questions relating towards what consumers may deem acceptable use of their personal information in terms of online and offline marketing, what impact the NSA spying may have on business marketing and big data, and what the future may hold with respect to the collection of our personal information and how that maybe used by businesses. The video of that discussion is embedded below, and the mp3 podcast can be found here.

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