Personal data must be protected and leveraged at the same time

personal data
Image credit | Trismegist8/

Personal data is set to be a focal point for next year and several years to come. As Jouko Ahvenainen points out, personal data should be protected as aggressively as copyright.

The problem, of course, with personal data and its management is how badly some companies have abused it that we are all on high alert when we see that a site will share data with third parties. Not only has our personal data been abused, it hasn’t even been used intelligently. We have often cited examples of misplaced advertising. The only where you book a holiday and then are bombarded by holiday adverts is an old classic.

Privacy, private browsing, ad blockers are beginning to change the way that websites themselves work.

The age of the cookie is coming to an end. Soon – hopefully – we will no longer be stopped the first time (if only it were just once) we land on a site to find you have to agree to leave your data on the doorstep or you can’t use the site.

Regulation in the area of personal data has so far been all but useless, and users find themselves being held hostage just as they have for years. Agree to three volumes of legal terms and conditions, or you can’t come in.

There has been some movement, though. A new announcement from Verizon Media, for example, looks promising. Verizon Media ConnectID is based on direct relationships with customers across all their different brands and partners, and there is no need for cookies or other clunky devices.

Of course, it helps with personal data, if you have 900 million customers worldwide and 200 billion daily data points at your disposal but it does prove that alternatives are emerging that respect customer privacy while using customers’ personal data in a way that genuinely provides a better, more intuitive experience.

One day, we might get to a reverse position, with Vendor Management techniques but that is not going to happen in the near future. That said, Verizon Media’ approach might be a significant step in that direction.

It will not be easy but, as Jouko Ahvenainen says, the next decade is likely to host an ongoing debate about personal data and its management. Let’s hope the outcome will not be more toothless and pointless regulation.

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