The Value of Data

Consumer data is an extremely valuable commodity today and one which generates a huge amount of revenue for search engines and social networking sites alike.

However questions continue to be thrown up of whether it is fair to utilise people’s data unwillingly.

Facebook has a tool called ‘Friend Finder’ which came under huge attack in 2010 from the German data protection authority, VZBV.

The German data protection authorities appear to severely dislike Facebook but this time they were focused on this particular tool and how it doesn’t do enough to notify users of how far it creeps into their email address contacts: extracting names, email addresses and even phone numbers.  The concern is that such capabilities do not comply with German business law.

Twitter has come under attack also for opening its archives to businesses. The question remains of whether it is fair to reach back two years into someone’s tweet history.

Google are also often challenged with regards to data privacy and it is difficult to imagine how they would avoid this bearing in mind the shear scale of their operation. Very recently they were challenged by the FTC (Federal trade Commission), for a code which has the ability to bypass privately set web browsing traffic on Safari.

Smart phones have also come under attack as many of them have carrier software which relays information regarding usage patterns.

As technology grows the interest in monitoring consumer behaviour also increases. Having said that much of the press around this is sensationalist to say the least.

For instance some blogs out there encourage people to throw off Google by searching for things they are not interested in to invalidate search statistics. The Daily Mail even made the claim that Facebook may increase your chances of developing cancer.

The argument for ‘Data Mining’ is that it gives users a more relevant online experience by having more tailored ads. Businesses claim it allows them to listen to their customer’s needs. Last summer the White House endorsed data mining in order to help Americans make better financial decisions. The idea was that learning more about people’s spending patterns would help prevent another economic meltdown. Make of that what you will.

Our Customers

  • ATOS
  • Age UK
  • Alliance Pharma
  • Liverpool Football Club
  • CSC
  • Centrica
  • Citizens Advice
  • City of London
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  • Government Offices
  • HCL
  • LK Bennett
  • Lambretta Clothing
  • Leicester City
  • Lloyds Register
  • Logica
  • Meadowvale
  • National Farmers Union
  • Network Rail
  • PKR

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