Gmail reads my emails.
… so they can serve me targeted ads.
Amazon analyzes my book buying habits.
…to serve me up ads via recommendations.
Facebook studies my posting habits and likes.
…to sell my profile to advertisers so they can target me with ads.
Google collects and analyzes my search habits.
…to serve me up contextual ads.
The New York Times tracks all the stories I read.
…so they can recommend to me other stories to read.
Nearly every website I visit mines me for valuable data.
…so they can sell it so companies can serve me up ads.
Some days you feel like a dairy cow and you’re tired of being milked. It gets aggravating to poked, prodded, pushed, pulled, and plucked day-in-and-day out. Some days you’ve had enough.
This is one of those days.
Our personal data (i.e. our privacy) has become the new frontier of marketing. Our preferences, buying habits, online patterns and circle of friends and influencers is the new gold mine. And we gladly give it up for convenience.
So here’s a question:
Should companies be allowed to collect your personal data when you visit their websites? Or should they be required to specifically ask permission to mine this data?
And I’m not talking about asking permission in the form of pages long terms of service agreements that no one reads. I’m talking about a pop-up that open as soon you arrive allowing you to either opt in or opt out of having your personal data collected.
And one follow-up question.
Should companies be forced to be completely transparent about what data they do have and have to share it with you if you ask for it?