Data and Privacy: Can’t We All Get Along?
“The future of computing will rely on careful collection of data from users.” Well said!
But just because billions of people use free digital services, and will continue to do so in exchange for data collection, doesn’t mean businesses get a free pass on how they use that data. Ethics and self-regulatory programs truly lay out the privacy rules of the road – but the invisible hand of the market has a role, too,
Which leads me to a third story: PayPal may have corrected itself after a potential privacy misstep this week. We all know those sometimes lengthy terms and conditions we’re asked to accept every time we download an update to an app, or enable software on our computers. Well, PayPal reportedly included within its terms and conditions a statement where the company would allow itself the right to robo-call and robo-text user telephone accounts, even for surveys and promotions, without enabling a consumer opt-out. Astute readers of those conditions prompted a social outrage – and the company quickly announced it would implement an opt-out choice, perhaps in time to minimize any brand damage.
All perspectives expressed in this column are more or less true: Smart, responsible data usage is encouraged and rewarded. At the same time, innovators need to be sensitive to privacy and annoyance concerns -- or face a backlash.