Advertisers have been collecting data for a long time now. This is something most online users knew but didn’t pay much attention to, but that’s starting to change.
More people are starting to feel uneasy about large tech companies having so much control over their data. This feeling is fueling the growing pushback against advertisers collecting personal data.
Why Was Such Unchecked Data Collection Even Allowed?
Privacy has always been a big thing for people. The idea of allowing a foreign entity to track an individual seems ludicrous, yet that’s what’s happening. It’s kind of strange, but if you pay attention to the details, you can see why something like this occurred.
For one, people didn’t understand what was going on in the beginning. The internet was fresh and new, and things changed gradually over time. A person couldn’t tell that personal information was being collected by a large entity. These entities would tell users they were being tracked, but most people don’t read the fine print about cookies and other practices that online search engines and websites use. Reading this information is time consuming, and it contains language that is hard to understand.
People started to appreciate the perks that came with data collection. For example, stored data made visiting a site much easier for online users as a site could load faster.
If a person was searching for some kind of business, the collected data was used to offer results that were close by. This refers to location tracking, and it uses your IP address to offer the information you need at the time.
Perhaps the biggest reason why many people didn’t mind giving away their data was that the internet was free. You can read any article you want. You can visit many sites and not worry about paying anything.
The reason the internet was free was that ads and tech companies monetized your data, but that’s starting to change. This explains all those paywalls you’re starting to see on some sites, and no one wants that either.
Understand the Pushback
Some people love when they receive targeted advertisements, but they’re uncomfortable with the monetization of their data. They are also uncomfortable with how much a company can learn about them, like their search history, location, hobbies, dislikes, and much more.
Privacy isn’t the only thing people worry about. Some users are also making things political. Everyone knows that businesses, including large tech companies and advertisers, now have to act like good corporate citizens.
The customer base expects companies to weigh in on all sorts of social and political matters. People don’t always agree with a company’s stance, and those folks get apprehensive about that company obtaining their data and using it. The general mistrust people have with companies is forcing the government to pay attention.
The problem with the government weighing in is the workers don’t understand how the collected data is used or even how it works. They have been left behind in the new tech world. Writing regulatory legislation requires knowledge and understanding.
The folks writing laws to protect people’s privacy don’t know how to write tight laws that advertisers and big tech can’t get around. What ends up happening is that the data collectors find workarounds, making those laws useless.
Another sector of the population is concerned about the government stepping in. Sure, it’s clear the government is not doing much yet, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers can’t begin to adapt and hire folks who understand data better. This will help them write more effective laws. Once lawmakers figure this out, the government is going to be regulating a sector that’s supposed to be public. This is something people are very concerned about, too.
This issue doesn’t have a simple solution. A balance must be found so that online users feel comfortable and companies can continue to provide the kind of service folks expect and want.