What Tech Giants Really do with Your Data, and Do You even Know they Have It?

As many as 57 percent of the respondents were more concerned about their security and privacy

The BBC published a piece on the various ways the largest tech giants and social media platforms use consumer data. In addition, BBC research found that the terminology used in privacy policies and terms are far too complicated.

Mayur Upadhyaya, MD for Europe at Janrain, said: "There is a real issue in the ways these firms collect consent for these types of data processing. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it should be much clearer in terms of what you're allowing firms to do with your data. The challenge is bundling this type of consent into very large (in some cases tens of thousands of words) terms and conditions, and often it's meaningless to the end user.

"What companies should be doing is asking for consent in context. For example, when it's meaningful to the end user and when there is some sort of value exchange (give-to-get). This could simply be, while in a mobile app, "could we please use your location to personalise your ads/experience?" Asked in this way, requesting this access is both meaningful and consumable.

"Without some focus on the customer experience of privacy, brands will start to loose trust. In Janrain's recent research into consumer attitudes toward data privacy, we found that 57 percent of the respondents were more concerned about their security and privacy, since the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Tech giants obfuscating their intent like this will continue to erode consumer confidence.  

"The readability of these terms of use is really disappointing. The whole intent of GDPR is to give back control to consumers. If the terms are so incomprehensible, they're not fit for purpose. One of the challenges we faced with the 2009 E-Privacy Directive (aka cookie directive) was that users stopped reading what they where agreeing to, and it all became somewhat habitual.

"Many of us in the industry had hoped we would learn from this and make terms more accessible under GDPR. One of the best examples of a company (that uses data for monetisation) doing this right is Channel4 with their Viewer Promise, which they published six years ago."

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