Consumers must take control over their online data. They need a little help from legislators, to create regulations similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU.
California State Assembly member Ed Chau and Senator Robert Hertzberg first attempted this in the U.S., introducing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in January 2018, and will go into effect January 2020.
Washington Senator Maria Cantwell introduced the most recent U.S. legislation, the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA). The act seeks to give consumers near complete control over the sharing of their online data.
“The COPRA digital privacy act outlines how customers can change, correct or delete personal information that companies collect about them.” said Nicole Lindsey, Senior Correspondent at CPO Magazine. “[The act] actually goes one step further than the California Consumer Privacy Act in that it requires consumers to opt-in to data sharing.”
Consumers need to be in control because many consumers no longer trust companies to safeguard their data. 2019 has brought a heightened sense of awareness and anxiety towards data security, caused in part by data breaches by countless companies. The majority of consumers understand they are being tracked constantly for their data.
“59% don’t believe companies have their best interests in mind. Consumers have been exposed to broad micro-targeting based on previous private interactions, which creates a major creep-factor and can make consumers skeptical of brands’ ability to keep information secure,” said Cristina Constandache, Chief Revenue Officer at Rakuten Viber.
There’s good reason to be skeptical. Everything we do online is tracked and aggregated, and our digital actions are extremely valuable to brands trying to sell us things.
“Our actions online have created a vast trove of information worth billions of dollars. Every time we search, click, shop, watch, send, receive, delete or download, we create a trail of data that companies can use to figure out our tastes and interests.” said Laurel Rosenhall, reporter for CalMatters.com. “This data has formed the foundation of the internet economy, allowing advertisers to better target the people they want to reach — whether that’s a company that wants to sell you something or a politician who wants your vote.”
Consumers hold more power than they may realize, and if properly empowered, can effectively steer themselves down the customer journey, sharing valuable bits of data along the way.
“Providing the ability to opt-out of targeted advertising or showing less intrusive ads through interest-based targeting that doesn’t rely on personally identifiable information can help increase brand trust and create engagements that will establish customer loyalty.” Constandache said.