Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about data sharing and collection and its privacy concerns. The European Union has started cracking down on US tech giants like Meta, fined recently over EU data breaches. Apple was also recently fined in France for similar violations. However, the technology industry isn’t the only field capitalizing on data sharing and collection. The marketing and advertising industry plays just as big of a role.
Data Sharing And Collection
Marketing and advertising industries use data collection and sharing in several ways, but it is primarily used to gather consumer insights. These insights allow businesses to better segment their target audience through demographics or psychographics, leading to more personalized advertisements and sales promotions. This personalization can also lead to more consumer engagement, and this engagement helps build a competitive advantage. While this method benefits the company, many believe it’s dangerous for the consumer’s privacy.
A good example is age verification apps and systems. For example, Louisiana lawmakers recently passed a bill requiring individuals to provide age verification when accessing pornographic websites. This law has its benefits, such as reducing the negative impact of exposure to dangerous online material. However, as PIA highlights, age verification systems collect information about you, such as your name, address, and date of birth. That is all information that government authorities and marketers can use. Apart from age verification systems, marketers access your data through website cookies and lead magnets such as email lists. They also use offline approaches like smart speakers, VR headsets, and smart fitness watches.
How Can You Avoid Marketing Businesses Collecting Your Data?
If you’re concerned with how much data businesses collect, there are a few solutions to reduce how much they know about you. For starters, you don’t need to provide your email address to every website that asks for it. Unless you are keen on receiving updates from a company, avoid giving away this information. You can also reject website cookies when they pop up. As Google states, cookies are small files downloaded to your computer when you accept them on a website you’re visiting, and they can be used to track your data and remember impressions about your visit to that website.
Similarly, if you feel like websites have already collected information about you and marketers are using this information to promote specific posts and advertisements, there are ways to get around them. For example, ad blockers are a great way to stop getting Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube ads from popping up. Likewise, SecurityWeek states that ad blockers are a great way to avoid cybersecurity threats. Sometimes a malicious ad will appear, and by clicking on it, infectious malware will download on your computer and steal your information. This information could be your name, address, date of birth, or financial information such as your credit card details.
The conversation over data sharing and collection by companies and government authorities is mixed. While we see its importance in limiting exposure to harmful material, such as pornographic material, or offering consumers better deals for products they’re interested in, privacy concerns remain justifiable. You never know how much a business knows about you; the marketing and technology industries use that to profit. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce how much these businesses know about you, such as through ad blockers and rejecting website cookies.