Online Tracking: Ethics and Collecting User Data

Data collection is one of the most important aspects of marketing and growing a business online. Technological components such as cookies and tags are the most common, collecting and storing information about the behaviors and preferences of consumers when browsing online. Because of how prominent personal data collection is in the world of online business, there are many regulations put in place to protect the privacy of customers and ensure that all data collected was done consensually.

Across the globe, privacy regulations have been put in place and are strictly enforced. In Europe, ePrivacy Directive is the governing body of user privacy and secures a consumer’s right to privacy through online tracking, personal profiling, unsolicited marketing tactics, and nonconsensual data harvesting. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives users many rights and powers in regard to how, when, and with whom their data is collected. In the United States, privacy legislation is determined on a state-by-state basis. California has the Consumer Privacy Act. Colorado has the Privacy Act. Virginia has the Consumer Data Protection Act. All working towards the common goal of putting the user first and keeping all online data exchange ethical.

Data Collection Challenges That Businesses Face

These regulations present a slew of challenges for businesses. It has become increasingly harder to gather sufficient data and analytics. Because providing consent can be tedious for online users, smaller proportions of people are available for businesses to use for research. In addition, non-compliance towards these laws and regulations can lead to large fines and consequences. Since the GDPR was put into place in May of 2018, the EU has issued over 800 fines across the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area. Similarly, companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have collected millions of dollars of fines for violations of improper consent and lack of transparency. These restrictions in combination with the fatiguing act of consent in the eyes of the consumer create a difficult situation for businesses across the globe.

InfoTrust has created an alternate solution to data collection. A solution that is both informative and sufficient as well as ethical and lawful. This measurement methodology involves anonymous data collection without the use of cookies or tags. As well as the push for the creation of a login to promote more voluntary data sharing from users. If more companies can adopt these practices, there will be a greater yield of important statistical data on users. Data that can be used to inform business decisions without harming users or putting their personal information at risk of exposure. With this method, businesses and marketers will be able to harness the true power of data, lawfully.

Infographic explaining data collection

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