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Data Collection Doesn’t Have to Infringe on User Privacy

data collection

Any business with an online presence of any kind typically relies on cookies and tags to collect data which is vital in their efforts to provide for the wants and needs of their target audience. This method of gathering information has been used by businesses for many years, and the data collected is invaluable in their data analytics. In fact, without the use of cookies and tags, data analytics would be altogether useless. 

All About Cookies

By definition, cookies are small text files placed on user devices which enable recognition and behavior tracking on a website. These can be first party, third party, session, or participant cookies, all of which serve the purpose of data collection. 

Tags are pixels or “web beacons” which are often used to store cookies on a user’s device, again, for the purpose of data collection. 

While these tools have been proven effective for businesses who wish to stay on target with their consumers’ purchasing trends, they’ve also been overused or used improperly. This has all brought user privacy concerns to the forefront, especially in the face of all the new vulnerabilities and increased cyber crime brought on by the COVID pandemic. 


How Privacy is Changing the Game

Thankfully, for online consumers and users, the European Union has taken a strong stand against privacy infringement and has created and enforced new regulations surrounding the issue. 

The ePrivacy Directive, for instance, provides protection from data collection which generally takes place through online tracking, personal profiling, unsolicited marketing, and nonconsensual data harvesting. 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) grants online users multiple rights surrounding data collection and usage. For instance, users have the right to be informed, the right of access, the right of rectification, the right of erasure, and the right to object, among other things. 

While all of these new regulations are effective and beneficial for protecting users, they are causing considerable difficulties for businesses who rely on data collection for making future business decisions. Businesses may not be able to collect enough usable data if too many users refuse consent, and this refusal can often happen simply because users are weary of having to consent so frequently due to how new regulations are enforced. 


In Conclusion

Fortunately for businesses, there are data collection methods that can legally be used all while staying in line with the current regulations and maintaining user privacy protection. For instance, a measurement methodology offers anonymous tracking without the use of cookies. There are also no unique identifiers used in this way. 

This is just one of the tools available to businesses who wish to protect the consumer’s privacy all while gathering valuable data to keep making informed business decisions.

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading content marketing agency that makes the world's ideas simple, visual, and influential. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019-present.

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