Tag Archives: privacy

What’s the solution to e-privacy?

This is a question my clients are asking me a lot at the moment.

I would imagine that by now you’ve heard about the new EU e-privacy directive which enforces websites to seek consent from visitors before allowing cookies to tag a visit. (If you’re not sure what cookies are or what they do, I recommend you read this article from the iab which tells you everything you need to know. It’s aimed at consumers, but as a business you should understand what your visitors need to know anyway).

The short answer is that it’s not a quick fix, you can’t just turn a few things off and bung in a few extra bits of info.

As a website owner you’ll need to sit down and map out a structured step by step solution that does two things:

Firstly, you need to educate the consumer. Outlined in the directive is the initiative to develop a simple language that can be adopted across multiple sites that communicates to the user what cookies do.

Secondly you need to couple your mapped process with technical solutions that will enable your site to comply with the new rules. This should work without disrupting the user experience too much and without turning your site into a mess.

To do this you need to fully understand what the directive means to you as a company individually. This means a review of your current site architecture in line with an audit of the cookies you have in place at the moment.

Map this against how you should be communicating with users and make sure that at each point where you need to seek positive consent, as a business you clearly provide the relevant information they need to make an informed decision.

Cookies will help you understand a consumer’s online habits and preferences so it’s a key insight. Get this wrong and it could be of massive detriment to the way that the internet is understood in marketing and you will lose that insight.

So : Be clear. Be honest. Be quick – the deadline for implementation will be upon us soon.

 

This is not the kind  of cookie you should be worried about

This is not the kind of cookie you should be worried about

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Privacy v’s Security

In a world where we’re connected to each other, quite often by several ways at once, the most talked about topic at the moment seems to be how to balance our privacy with security.

The company behind Blackberry smartphones recently released a statement ensuring their customers that data was indeed private and protected but, internet security experts say that protecting our privacy is a growing battle against the demands for access to the communications occurring across networks.

You can maybe understand how governments might justify the need to tap into certain watched individuals but they do that anyway don’t they? Why do they need to know what I thought of  ‘the film last night’ or ‘which route I took to work’? Feeling exposed? Well it’s certainly getting Joe Public up in arms.

Communications companies and service providers appear to be on the side of the consumer with a growing volume of content being encrypted (Google mail recently undertook a lot of work after big trouble in China) but as this information starts being distributed for intelligence how long before our every move, exchange and decision is open source?

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oh behave!

Behavioural advertising or targeting is a much discussed subject (often closely followed by the online privacy topic) and one that brings with it an equal balance of aggression and nervousness.

Put simply behavioural targeting is a technique used online to deliver specific messages based on user trends. Information is collected by cookies (not the choc chip kind) on users’ computers based on what they’re searching for and looking at, then this information is profiled and collated into ‘user groups’.

By understanding these user groups we can more effectively target audiences online therefore deliver more relevant adverts.

Contrary to popular belief, it is safe and is really just designed to not waste consumer’s time. Big Brother aren’t recording your every move and sending it to MI5 and it is closely regulated by bodies such as the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau).

If you want to learn a bit more, this video from the IAB puts in simple language what behavioural advertising is all about, the referenced URL http://www.youronlinechoices.co.uk/ is also a really useful site if you want to know more about cookies and how to protect your privacy online.

You can also read my recent blog post ‘Is Privacy Dead’ for more information surrounding this subject area.

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Is privacy dead?

We’re all used to ticking opt out boxes to keep our details hidden but in a world where everyone is connected over the media of the internet, is the ability to control who has access really that secure?

I’ve had this debate with so many clients, friends and family members and it comes hand in hand with just about every mention of Facebook (I’ll point out now that 95% of these conversations are with older generations).

How many times have I heard ‘But I don’t want people to know what I’m up to every minute of the day’ and then two seconds later a shrieking squeal followed by ‘Ooh look at that picture, my how he’s grown! Quick flick through the other pictures so I can see…’

There are many critics of the internet, Steve Rambam a private investigator specialising in internet cases once said ‘Privacy is dead – get over it’. He may be right, if someone digs hard enough they could probably find some dirt on me but I publicly display what I want people to see and control how that is presented. It seems more that it’s the lack of understanding that people are afraid of.

So in simple words these are the things you need to check for if you’re nervous:

  • Who your information will be passed to
  • Why the information is being collected (if you allow it to be)
  • How the information will be used and when
  • How you can access information the organisation holds about you

All this can be found in any disclaimer for any site you visit or use.

With particular reference to Facebook, read this blog by my friend and colleague Jim. Here he talks specifically about Facebook Privacy. I think you’ll find it very useful.

I don’t really have an answer for you all, being immersed in the digital world I suppose I have more trust in it, I’m just as wary of the next door neighbour who constantly tries to steal my raspberries, the man in the shop who tries to short change me and the estate agents not doing a very good job of selling my house. None of whom I deal with online.

I guess really it’s just having the understanding to make an informed decision about what you share… what do you think?

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