Archives for posts with tag: privacy

There was a recent post on Buzzfeed talking about a man who wanted to come out to his parents and texted a friend about how to do it. Immediately following his conversation, when he logged into Facebook, there was an ad for a “Coming Out Coach.” So naturally, he thought Facebook was looking into his texts (Facebook says it can’t). A serious privacy concern, especially because Canada just ruled that text messages are private.

What is more likely to have happened, this man had liked, commented, or looked at something that would have matched the ad’s SEO. Facebook has the ability to track everything you do when its page is open. These supercookies (used by many companies) build a digital profile on each user and can suggest or hide content that you would not be interested in.

Humans are creatures of habit. Thus making predictions about what is going on is easy with enough information. While some may say this is an issue of personal privacy, it is really something to admire the power of analytics and technology. These same predictive analytics allowed Target to guess a girl was pregnant before her father knew.

So getting a coupon for diapers may be nice, how far is too far when it comes to what companies track and what they don’t? Also, what do companies do with children? When data is about purchases and web history, age isn’t part of it. However, if companies can guess when someone’s pregnant, then they should be able to guess a user’s age. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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How many kids are using mobile devices that collect device information from them? The Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted to protect children and ensure their information that is collected from a website is protected. Now the government and major companies are working together to update the COPPA to include mobile devices and protect kids from apps that collect very personal information.

The FTC asked many developers to figure out how to provide more information to consumers in order to have them understand what data is being collected from apps. While apps do present a privacy policy before they are downloaded, there is not enough being done to keep people informed about what data is being collected and what is being done with that information.

After studying apps, the FTC found apps would pass along geographical information and phone numbers. The apps collected information and did not disclose what they did with the information. Clearly apps like these need to be addressed and developers need to be more forthcoming in what they are doing with the information they collect.

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Verizon Wireless is launching a new premium ad service for advertisers. The precision marketing effort is called Verizon Selects. The goal is to allow advertisers to send customers advertisements based on the use of the internet and apps on their smartphones. The program also utilizes location data to help deliver coupons and other promotions tailored to a users interests. AT&T has a similar program in place as well.

Verizon defends the service by saying the ads will benefit the user. Before any customers jump ship, Verizon says customers will only be tracked if they opt-in to allow Big Red to track them.

From a marketing stand point, this is very useful information. Learning how people use their smartphones can help marketers understand what people do all day. Are they searching for movie times? Browsing the internet for news? Playing Angry Birds? Buying products from websites? Ultimately, advertisers and companies can take this information and make the user experience better on mobile handsets. Whether it is creating websites optimized for a 4-inch screen or creating apps that deliver a richer experience with a company.

Imagine walking into a grocery store and getting a coupon for your favorite ice cream because you favorited the item in the store’s app. While some people may think that is scary, it actually makes your shopping experience better. Try it for a little bit. See if the companies deliver a better user experience. You can always opt-out.

Obviously the fear of the information being abused is always there. That is why it is always important to understand who and what is accessing your information. Verizon and AT&T have made it easy for customers to disable the collection of proprietary network information. Click here for Verizon and here for AT&T.

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