Big Data and Your Privacy
If you have a customer reward card in your wallet and you use it, you are providing stores information about your shopping habits. This includes what you buy, when you go shopping, and how much you spend.
While this may not sound like much of an invasion of your privacy, when combined with your shopping habits online, social networking activity, search history (yes every site you search ends up in someone’s database), and demographic information retailers can get a pretty good idea of how to target your interests. This information is called Big Data and it is used by retailers and others to know who to target in their advertising campaigns. This sounds innocent enough, right? Well maybe.
While Big Data is a useful tool for marketing purposes, could this information be used to invade your privacy and compromise your personal information? Every time you purchase items online, you must first register with the site.
This means you have to give them your demographic information, credit card numbers and other personal details. Once they have your information they can use this to develop a profile of you and your shopping habits. They use this information to track sales, send you special offers, and hone in on your tastes.
By collecting all of this Big Data on you, marketers can get a fairly good picture of what you buy and where. This process goes bad when sites sell this information to other marketers for big money.
It is easy to just scroll down to the bottom of the Terms of Service (I’ve done it more than a few times.), but for your protection you at least need to look for the privacy section and know what it says.
Most of the time businesses collect your information and only use it for their own marketing efforts. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s how the offer you products and services you may actually be interested in, and how they make their money. Big Data is a powerful marketing too, but you must know what they plan on doing with it to protect yourself.