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Latest news and insights on consumer behavior in the offline world

Ethical Data Collection

Posted by Adam Lamers on 12/20/13 10:20 AM

In the modern world, data is a largely traded commodity. An important question we must ask is, what are the opportunities presented for customers to misconstrue data collection with an invasion of their privacy in a public space? Some data collection companies use technologies which could raise this concern, such as cameras or tracking customers’ cell phones. If a non-tech-savvy consumer were to learn about this, they may be thinking “How much data are they remembering about me? Are they keeping records of my face on a server somewhere, or are they able to read my text messages and phone call records?”


While none of this may be true, the possibility for this to happen is scarily present. The innate distrust of a corporate entity with our personal information is prevalent in the age of the Internet. Nobody wants to walk into a store wondering what kind of personal information trail they’re leaving in their wake. Sometimes, companies receive a large amount of criticism when it is revealed that they use certain types of data collection techniques on the customers who patronize their store.

I believe that technology today should allow these stores to collect the data they need to improve their sales performance and improve the layout of their stores to improve customer experience and to maximize their profits, all while keeping people’s sense of privacy intact. The way this is achieved, is to make it known that you have no possible way to identify a consumer based on their movement habits, or potential access to their private information. And that when they leave the store, information on their movements and shopping habits remains completely anonymous and not linked to them in a database somewhere.

Topics: Related Industries, Technology