Common sense rule of protecting customer data


Google recently announced that it is shutting down Google+, the search giant’s personalized social search platform after several user data were stolen. Facebook also came under intense criticism after Cambridge Analytica was exposed to have access to millions of its users’ data for information weaponization and propaganda for politicians.

While these not-too-good times are costing big companies huge revenues with severe dents to their image, not much attention has been paid to media and marketing professionals who not only use data from Internet companies but also collect, warehouse and gatekeep several amounts of it.

The default recommendation is to invest more into cybersecurity across the board with a new networking and connectivity protocols drafted into the day to day workings within and outside offices, but can we be more secure than Google, Microsoft, Facebook?

Your guess is as good as mine.

What cannot be solved by science might not defy common sense. Do we need to collect so much data than we need? How much data is enough and how do we get rid of those we don’t need?

For instance, Facebook disclosed that for about half of those whose accounts were broken into—about 14 million people—the hackers accessed intimate information, such as the last 10 places that person checked into, their current city and their 15 most-recent searches. Is this not an overkill of data collection?

As people become more aware of what we collect about them, we will need to update them daily, weekly or monthly about what we have about them and if they want us to keep it. Even if they do not respond, we still have to take much care in protecting our customers, research respondents and the users of our products.

In the end, the customer is always right and their data is their life.

First published in NEXTGEN, a weekly newsletter of SBI Media Limited.