This week’s article talks about corporations and privacy, and it’s the last in my privacy series.
The Internet is being used more and more as an information-gathering vessel that companies are then using to market and sell to users. Some of that can be valuable: Whenever you shop at your favorite store, it keeps track of your previous purchases and emails you things you might like.
However, there have been plenty of stories in the news about companies selling our information or being subpoenaed by the government, which people don’t like. I’m not going to pick on any company in particular, but a simple Internet search shows that companies have had to pay millions to settle claims of misrepresenting the privacy of users.
Again, Daniel Gutierrez, chief data scientist for Private.me, answered the following questions I had on the subject. He is the founder of Los Angeles-based Amulet Analytics, a service division of Amulet Development Corp. His specialization is in gathering data and providing predictive analytics to enhance the value of data assets.
StorageCraft: Comment on the following statement: “Big corporations violate Internet-users privacy because they are not being held accountable for protecting their users.”
Gutierrez: As a data scientist, I’ve said publicly for some time now that the only thing that can slow down the big data steamroller is consumer privacy concerns. It is only when the customer uses their purchasing power to protest the way their personal data is being used, that companies will start to change the way they use and share this data.
StorageCraft: How are big corporations violating Internet privacy?
Gutierrez: I’m not sure they are necessarily violating privacy, they are using the data they collect to maximize their profit potential on behalf of their shareholders. Companies will have to willingly give up control over customer data, but it won’t be easy to wrestle away this control. Customer data is a huge asset for most companies. It will have to be in response to customer complaints or loss of business before this happens.
StorageCraft: How can they be held accountable?
Gutierrez: Companies can change their ways by adopting “forgetful” technology like what Standard Clouds is building. Once they do this, privacy concerns evaporate.
StorageCraft: Is this something that needs to happen on the managed service provider side, or how can MSPs help their clients not to do this?
Gutierrez: Yes, managed service providers need to adopt a new data governance paradigm that elevates consumer privacy to top priority.
StorageCraft: While it seems just as easy to boycott these corporations, do we actually have to come to grips with the fact that in order to use the Internet, we will be faced with this kind of result?
Gutierrez: Change in the arena will be slow, but increasing pressure by customers, is the only way companies will choose to adopt a new way of managing consumer data. Hopefully in the future, we all look back to 2014 and wonder how companies were allowed such control over consumer data.
Photo credit: Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr