Individual and company privacy is a growing concern. Our country as well those all around the world are scrambling to keep up with the rapid growth of technology.
“It’s no surprise that consumers are worried about privacy. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2017 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, identity theft was the second biggest category, making up nearly 14 percent of all the consumer complaints. It was behind debt collection ( 23 percent of all complaints)” (Nicastro, 2018).
This article discusses what is being done to protect and secure that information as well as what role marketers and businesses play in it.
Is privacy an issue that marketers and businesses need take seriously? If so, what can they do to ensure they are taking all necessary actions to secure the privacy of their customers. Marketers as well as businesses as a whole need to place the matter of privacy at the highest level. Research, analysis and making sure everyone on the team is properly educated is important.
The US as well as other countries have several regulations and laws in place to help protect consumers and guide the businesses that market to them. Here are just a few:
- The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) signed in to law in 1993 was designed to help lessen the unregulated telemarketing call and faxes. Without consumer consent, companies must not contact people who have asked to be on the do not call registry or face the possibility of litigation.
- COPPA takes on the privacy and protection of children under 13, making it mandatory that parental consent is given before collection of certain types of information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gives strict guidelines that online services must follow to protect children.
- The CAN-SAM Act; this law gives people the right to stop receiving commercial messages and if the law is violated, costly penalties are subject to penalties of up to $42,530.
- The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a new Act that will be effective in 2020. California residents will now be able to find out what personal information is being gathered about them, have access to it, know what information is shared and with whom and if their information is sold they now have the right to opt out of that sale. Also, excising their privacy rights will not exclude them from receiving equal service and price.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from the European Union (EU) focuses on protection and privacy for all individuals in the EU and EEA. It also addresses export of personal information outside the EU and EEA.
So, when conducting business internationally, this needs to be taken into consideration. Even with all of these and several other regulations that have been are into action, there are still the privacy rules of different states and other countries that all marketers have to work within. Despite all of these guidelines in place, there can still be issues.
Citibank had a breach of their security a few years ago, which led to hundreds of thousands of customers having their emails and account numbers stolen and the loss of millions in value for the company. This led to the Federal government deciding it needed to do more to protect individuals and company information. New rules and regulations were put into place. But were they enough?
Facebook recently set aside 3 billion dollars to pay the penalties that may be imposed on them from the FTC and then their stock rose making them 40 billion dollars. Should we be taking greater steps to ensure large companies take privacy more seriously? Seeing that the penalty would only be 3 billion the investors saw it as a mere slap on the wrist and thought the future looked bright.
What would cause a large company and their investors to understand the importance? If the bigger clients get away with it, what does that say to smaller businesses? Should they waste the time and money on securing their information and that of their clients? The FTC needs to keep adapting to the constant change technology brings, but is it the only one that needs to be informed or watching over privacy laws? No. Marketers, businesses and consumers need to be aware of privacy laws and regulations, abide by them and educate themselves.
Marketers and business can use customer data to find out their likes, dislikes, where they make purchases, what products they prefer and based on the information they are able to get they can find a way to sell to them. So, what is their role regarding privacy laws and regulations?
“Firms spend billions of dollars to capture and leverage customer data. Our research argues that while these efforts can be good for the firm, they can also increase customers’ data vulnerability and/or heighten their perceptions of susceptibility to harm from data privacy. Firms, however, have little insight into the potential ramifications of customer data management efforts or how to prevent negative outcomes” (Martin, 2017).
For my company, ACQUI, I am setting up a resource page for our clients so we are completely transparent and they are able to see what their rights are. I think that we all have a responsibility to safeguard our business information as well as our client’s data. By working together, not just within our own country, but internationally we have a better chance of finding the best way to secure and protect all data.
Nicastro, D., (2018). 9 Considerations for Marketers in the Age of Consumer Data Privacy Laws. CMSWire. Retrieved from: https://www.cmswire.com/digital-marketing/9-considerations-for-marketers-in-the-age-of-consumer-data-privacy-laws/
Martin,K., Borah, A. and Palmatier, R. (2017) How Should Marketers Manage Data Privacy? AMA. Retrieved from: https://www.ama.org/2017/11/01/how-should-marketers-manage-data-privacy/