Minority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering

Jayson Bowden
Jason Bowden Chief Warrior, Digital-Warriors

Posted on August 10th 2014

Minority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering

Big data is currently the big thing in the digital age and it has caused a significant issue regarding privacy. With the big data revolution, it is possible to collect massive information using internet technology. Along the privacy issues are the benefits derived from this innovative solution for internet marketing. Online marketers and small to large businesses are able to find a cost effective way of data gathering, storage and analytics that can help grow their business efficiency better through big data. Online users know that each time they click on something on a website, their activities can be tracked down. How can you assure them that they don’t have to worry about their privacy when visiting your website?

The standpoint of the consumers on big data gathering

The massive explosion of big data in many online companies resulted in the growing concern among the consumers. In the current big data era, about 20% of companies using data analytics are able to outperform their competitors. About 80% of internet marketing companies are in the process of implementing big data initiatives and 79% of them believe that big data can potentially boost their business revenues.

Owing to privacy issues, about 49% of the consumers are less willing to share their personal information in the next five years. Many consumers are now aware about the dangers of sharing their personal information and the security issues involved by consenting to the sharing of their personal information online. Data collection tools and technology has become so innovative in collecting data from imperceptible consumers, and the consumers view the process as a one-sided beneficial transaction that favors only businesses and the consumers exercising less control over it.

The loss of data available can result in the risk of loss of valuable data that can help marketers improve their business performance. It should be a major concern among internet marketers on how to resolve the privacy issues among the consumers in order to build a more trusting relationship that will make the consumers more cooperative in sharing data information.

Aggregating data instead of user identification

big data gathering

Big data experts recommend that in order to assure internet users about their privacy, online marketers should focus their data gathering system by aggregating data instead of identifying users. Instead of collecting personal information from a website user, companies can collect patterns of behavior of their customers using algorithms that will track down only the activities of each website visitor without having to acquire personal information that will pinpoint the user’s identity.

By using the aggregate data gathering process, the animosity of the internet users is reduced because they will feel less threatened regarding the invasion of their privacy. By extracting the shopping pattern of website customers, for instance, limit the acquisition of data on their shopping patterns and behavior while dispensing from asking for the personal information of your customers when tracking down their online activities.

  • Collect an aggregate of data and cluster them according to function such as summarization, averaging, standard deviation, ranking and sequencing.
  • Limit the data collection process to specific parameters without including personal information of the consumer that will reveal their identity.
  • Format the summary records to reveal different levels of information, but excluding the identity of the user where the aggregate data was collected from.

Data gathering is pure technology, but needs ethical practices

The majority of the processes involved in collecting data from customers rely from the consent given and upon the voluntary disclosure of a website user. The information acquired can be used by the company and may be reused again for future analysis. Companies usually hire the best and skilled data analysis experts in order to organize and apply the analytic methods to extract valuable information about a website user behavior. While this process involves pure technology that helps experts to collect and analyze data, companies need to exercise the prudence of ethical practices alongside the pure science and technology applied in this manner.

While analytics can apply parameters to acquire specific information, with an innovative process used in big data, personal information can be revealed. Thus, each company should implement a privacy protection measure to avoid exposing the personal information of their customers. While it is currently a political issue on how to protect the privacy of the citizens from the massive activities of data gathering, every company has the corporate responsibility of implementing its own measure against privacy breach and identity exposure of their customers in order to gain the trust of the consumers.

  • Hire data analytic experts to extract valuable data your business needs without compromising the private information about the source of the data.
  • Explain to your customers how their shared information will be used and the extent that your company will be using them.
  • Reveal the big data technology used when extracting the information from your customers and its security features

Implementing a self regulatory program and making it known to the consumers

While about 71% of online marketing executives are less concerned about the privacy issue on big data, there are many corporate firms that are beginning to address such concern of the consumers by implementing its own self regulatory program in the data gathering process employed on their website and making it known to their customers. By introducing the big data process involved in collecting the personal information of their website visitors, and through the public disclosure about the process and technology employed in protecting them, businesses are able to assure the consumer on how their data will be used and the level of protection they will receive in exchange of sharing their personal information. The implementation of a self regulating process of data gathering will reduce the hostility among the consumers.

  • Integrate valuable processes in data gathering such as collection of data, analysis, decision making and review and revision.
  • Be critical in the decision making process on how the data analytics will be used without exposing the identity of the consumers. Thoroughly review whether the personal information of your customer will be compromised and exercise compensatory control to protect your consumer privacy.
  • Identify the legal and social norms involved in using customer information and take the step in using the data for business decision making within the realms of reasonableness.
  • Use only relevant information that are extracted from your customers for data analysis.  
  • Explain to your customers the steps in protecting their shared information when requesting for their consent in disclosing personal data.

Data security measures

Companies should embrace the costs required for the data security measures needed to ensure the protection of consumer privacy. About 70% of the consumers are not happy about companies collecting their information because of the privacy and security breaches that occurred in the past years. Internet marketing experts provide that a holistic approach in big data gathering should include not only using innovative big data analytic tools, but also employing innovative data security measures to reduce and manage risks.

  • Implement data security measures such as using encrypted passwords, implementing firewalls, installing antivirus to your system, and update data storage system or program regularly.
  • Observe an ongoing review of your data analysis process. Make sure to revise unnecessary processes that tend to collect more personal information that are irrelevant to your business.
  • Observe procedures that will prevent the leak of information from your data warehouse and limit its access to only a few employees responsible for data management and analytics.   

If you need assistance in growing your data analytics needs to grow your digital marketing business, Digital Warriors have the resources, experts, and comprehensive services for all your digital marketing needs. This includes IT consulting, marketing analytics, social media marketing, search engine optimization and web design and development

Learn more about the big data era by downloading a FREE EBOOK here:

http://www.digital-warriors.com/big-data-marketing-analytics/

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Jayson Bowden

Jason Bowden

Chief Warrior, Digital-Warriors

Jason is the Chief Consultant at Digital-Warriors Internet Marketing http://www.digital-warriors.com which is a boutique style service provider for Web Design/Dev, Social Media Marketing & Search Engine Optimization services. Our mission is to provide high quality solutions for small business web presence and promotion. Whether you need help getting your online strategy in order or already have a web presence we can offer value to further your campaigns and grow your technical assets. We achieve these results with a talented and customer focused staff who will help solve your business problems. Please visit us at http://www.digital-warriors.com

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