Our assignment this week in class was to analyze and critique an article regarding ethics, data mining and direct marketing. Through this article and the class in general, I’ve learned a lot more about cookies and what they can store. If you think I’m referring to cookies that you can eat then click the following link to find out what I’m really talking about and then come back to read my blog. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/c/cookie.htm
In a way cookies on a computer are good because it helps the sites you visit deliver customized information. As Morse and Morse state “In summary, the first benefit of data mining and direct marketing is, ideally, that the relevant data allow marketers to better understand the interests and purchasing behavior of internet users” (Morse & Morse, p. 79). What I didn’t know is that companies can share the cookie information they collect with other companies. Similar to magazines who may sell their subscriber lists, cookie information is probably even more beneficial because it tracks more types of activity than a magazine subscription list can.
So this has made me start wondering if my personal information and privacy is basically gone in the age of e-this and e-that. Given this info, let’s take a look at the “E”s I mentioned in the title of this post.
Electronic & Everything
I do my banking online, I go to grad school online, I communicate with people online, I make purchases online, I check my 401k balance online, I book vacations online. I would probably even eat online if I could….maybe. The point is that with so many more transactions going to an online format, the days of personal information are becoming obsolete if they already aren’t gone by now. The social security number used to be a cherished piece of information that no one should know however the internet has probably destroyed that concept.
So what do businesses do in an age in which their competitors are using every piece of information they can in order to get an advantage? As far as I’m concerned a business can use any information I give them to try to sell me any of their products. I just don’t think they should give my information to anyone else. I think this is an angle that many companies can use to their advantage as a differentiator. I want to see an ad campaign that focuses on the position that “give us your info, give us your business, we’ll give you some privacy – period.” How refreshing would that be?
The chances of this happening are fairly low so I guess my only other recommendation would be – buy identity theft insurance, you’ll probably need it someday.
Morse, J., & Morse, S. (2002). Teaching temperance to the 'cookie monster': Ethical challenges to data mining and direct marketing. Business & Society Review, 107, 76-97.
Speaking of a lack of ethics.......
8 years ago