Daily Dose of iQ: New Study Reveals Consumer Qualms with Data Mining

Jun 08, 2015 — Allan Pulga

Last week (June 4), the New York Times' Natasha Singer previewed a new study conducted by the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, which looked at consumer attitudes toward the sharing of their private data in exchange for deals or discounts.

The study, which became publicly available on Friday (June 5), concluded that many Americans think the trade-off of their data for personalized services, giveaways or discounts is an unfair deal.

Some highlights from the study include:

  • 91% disagree with the following statement: "If companies give me a discount, it is a fair exchange for them to collect information about me without my knowing it."
  • 71% disagree: "It's fair for an online for physical store to monitor what I'm doing online when I'm there, in exchange for letting me use the store's wireless internet, or Wi-Fi, without charge."
  • 55% disagree: "It's OK if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me."
  • 84% agree: "I want to have control over what marketers can learn about me online."
  • 65% agree: "I've come to accept that I have little control over what marketers can learn about me online."

In most cases, personal data collection is simply the norm of reaping the benefits of services like Facebook, Amazon and Uber.

The last statistic is poignant because data collection is simply the norm among terms and conditions for a lot of websites, apps and services like Amazon.com or Uber. As a result, many consumers have resigned to having little control over the disclosure of their personal data in most cases.

About Uber, Singer writes: "The company’s new privacy policy, scheduled to take effect on July 15, says that if customers permit the Uber app to connect to location data, the app may collect the precise locations of their devices whether the app is running in the foreground or the background. Whether or not customers turn on that permission, the app still may deduce their general location based on other signals from their devices.

"And, if consumers use the ride-hailing app on or after that date, the company will conclude that they have read and agreed to the terms, Uber said in a recent email to customers.

"In other words, Uber customers may resign themselves to having their data extracted — or forgo the service altogether."

Topics: Privacy, Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce, Retail Marketing

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