Data Collection: Privacy Regulations in the Commercial World

Tracking tools are vital to businesses that operate in some capacity online in order to inform marketing efforts and grow revenue. Online tracking includes many components, mainly cookies and tags, which are files that enable tracking of online behavior and collect information about a user’s interactions, respectively. Information tracking can be very complex, as there are many different types of cookies that have unique functions, like first-party, third-party, session, and persistent cookies, and tags that can identify users and their connected devices.

Because of the large range of tracking technology that is available to businesses, privacy regulations are necessary to secure a user’s right to privacy and anonymity. In Europe, the ePrivacy Directive is the governing body that controls user experience, cookies, and online tracking. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), users have the right to object, the right to restrict processing, the right of data portability, and many other listed rights that allow ultimate control over their information and how it is used. Similarly, in the United States, states like California, Colorado, and Virginia have specific legislation that grants users rights related to the processing of their personal information and personal data.

These intense regulations regarding data usage in many parts of the world present various challenges for businesses who rely on information to be successful. If too many of their users refuse to consent to data usage or cookies, businesses may struggle to gather data that is sufficient, and analytics may be rendered useless. In addition, there are heavy fines for non-compliance to these regulations. For example, the European Union issued more than 800 fines across the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom. Even the biggest corporations struggle in this area, with Amazon losing $877 million for failing to obtain proper consent from users, and Google losing $56.6 million for violations in providing privacy notices.

InfoTrust has developed a three-pronged approach to complying with online privacy laws and helping businesses get the most out of their data. This privacy-centric measurement methodology allows for online based corporations to legally avoid these data regulations in order to gather information in an ethical and efficient way. Specifically, data can be collected anonymously without the use of cookies to protect the user’s identity and personal information, the creation of a login can be prompted sooner so a site can increase its user base, and further cookieless measurement capabilities are becoming more and more feasible in the world of data sharing.

Both users and marketers alike can feel comfortable that their data is being shared only with their consent, and that the data being used for research purposes was ethically sourced. Although laws and regulations can make it difficult for companies to gather insight on their users and therefore drive their company initiatives forward, InfoTrust presents the best way for consumers and companies to work in harmony. With this method, businesses can harness the power of data in this newfound technology driven world in the most lawful and ethical way.