The Ethical Collection of Online Data

Businesses that operate heavily online utilize tracking tools to influence marketing efforts and build their revenue. Tags and cookies are some of the main components of online data collection, which businesses can use to gather and store user data such as pages that they view, products they purchase, and how they accessed the website. Because of how versatile and invasive these types of online tracking tools can be, there are many regulations that have been established to protect the privacy of consumers and their data.

Across the globe, privacy regulations have been put into place to protect users’ rights to secure online tracking, unlawful personal profiting, unsolicited marketing tactics, and nonconsensual data harvesting by third parties. ePrivacy Directive is the governing body in Europe that helps to enforce these laws, giving users many rights and powers to how and where their information is shared. Similarly, in the United States, legislation on a state-by-state basis grants users rights related to the processing of their personal data.

Because of how strict these regulations are, there are many challenges that businesses struggle with when attempting to gather sufficient data. Analytics may be rendered useless if the proportion of consenting users is too low. On top of that, if a business does not comply with these laws, there are various heavy fines that may be imposed for different offenses. For example, violations such as failing to obtain proper consent, or violating required privacy notices can cost hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

Despite these difficulties in the world of online tracking, InfoTrust has compiled a three-part approach to collecting data while complying with privacy laws. Businesses can get the most out of their data by using anonymous data collecting mechanisms without cookies, and prompting users to register so there is more voluntary sharing of information. Data is one of the most powerful tools to a business that operates online, therefore, it is significant to find methods that protect user privacy without sacrificing the quality of the data itself.

Data Collection in a Post-Cookie World
Source: InfoTrust