- The companies have to decide whether they want to collect the data and exploit or respect the user.
- Transparent and understandable privacy policies will be the main goal of companies in the future.
The battle began when Apple declared that the users would have to soon consent to personal data tracking policy. Facebook, which has been earning money with such tracking, published full-page advertisements to criticize Apple’s policy. Apple CEO Tim Cook fired back in a rebuttal speech recently, rebuking against the companies that collect data as far as possible and warning of the dangerous consequences.
The conversations about the data privacy policies have gained momentum. And the impact of such policies will be felt across the tech and business worlds. Whatsapp users expressed their outrage when they had to accept new privacy terms or stop using the app. Moreover, privacy bills are gaining traction within state legislatures.
All the tech companies access the user data. Hence, the companies must decide which side they are on. The side where the company collects yet respects the user data. Or the side where the user data is collected and exploited. When a company decides to prioritize a user’s privacy, it does not mean that it has to change its policies. Instead, the companies should communicate those policies to consumers in an intelligible way and hold internal teams accountable.
Privacy policies should be able to pass the user test, and not the lawyer test:
The “road signs” around data privacy can help with user navigation:
There is a misconception that social media platform Facebook is facing scrutiny for using the user’s data to target advertisements. The reason behind this is that the company hasn’t given the users any explanation about this. The social media giant has been collecting massive data without offering any explanation around it.
When the company provides data privacy road signs, the user can decide what data they are comfortable sharing. For instance, a company can tell its users what it does or doesn’t do with the data it has collected so far.
When the users encounter a complex topic like data privacy, we are pretty clear with what they don’t want to share. A recently launched chat application called signal does things the same way. I have outlined the proper policies to the users saying that they cannot access their messages and “does not sell, rent, or monetize your personal data or content in any way — ever.”
Data privacy should be a part of the company’s culture:
The companies should communicate every detail around the data privacy practices is early on to the users but upholding those practices should be an inside job. Leaders should ensure that their company culture encourages employees to act as respectful data custodians. One of such steps could be rewarding the employees or teams who do their jobs well with a minimum amount of consumer data. Companies can also include tokenization which swaps the sensitive data with digital “tokens”.
Apple and Facebook have thrown down the data privacy gauntlet and about time the companies should pick aside. Looking at the current scenario the users will prefer companies that respect and protect their data.