Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Privacy and Permissions: The customer wants his data back

Whenever you're involved in any kind of digital project clever marketeers will fight tooth and nail to make sure they get data-mining elements included.
They talk about 'owning data', by which we mean owning customers' personal details. The more we know about them, the more money we can make from them. Perfect knowledge... and all that.
But we shouldn't assume this is a digital default. Some time, very soon, we're likely to see a consumer revolt. And with the power vested in the blogosphere, the social consumer will get what they want - their identity back.

Individuals will own their data and offer us permissions to access it from time to time. It will be theirs to share, not ours to own.

What this means for brands is that we will have to work harder than ever at our engagement - we will have to make ourselves more trustworthy, more relevant and more worthwhile to get any kind of permissions. And we'll have to do it consistently, persistently, every day.

Peter Miles, discussing the issue on the Oxford Forum (see link below, left under resources, says:)

"For a whole host of reasons I think this current arrangement is illogical. I think the logical arrangement is much simpler and will be based on the fact that I do own (and retain) all rights to my personal data / profile but essentially I am prepared to 'share' aspects of this with selected companies based on a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties.

"My logical situation would be something like:

"All data / profile on 'me' is stored in a secure place under my direct and sole control.

"I allow different levels of access to this data information to different companies / institutions based on the nature of the relationship. So I might allow my chosen Bank certain access and say my sports social networking site a different level of access.

"None of my data is actually transferred to these sites thay are simply allowed to access through to my secure place.

"If at some point I decide to 'deny' them that access then they cannot therefore keep any data of mine as a sort of legacy trace.

"One beneficial side effect of this might be that I will no longer need to remember 50 different user names and passwords as I - or is that 'me' - become the centre of my own universe.

I do think that at some point there is going to be a legal challenge to the current situation and that will spark a very interesting debate."

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?