When Will Privacy Matter?

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More and more people are becoming concerned about data privacy. There's more advocacy, and this shows in more laws being passed around the world. Those are good steps forward, but those rules and restrictions are just the lowest bar of what I'd hope for. Regulation will always lag behind best practices and technology, and I'd hope that organizations look to do better.

I expect more competition to crop up again in the future as the world grows, and I wonder if some of these businesses will start to take privacy seriously. Not because of regulation, but because it might provide some competitive advantage. I ran across a short piece that has a few ideas on how you might be more competitive in your niche if you take privacy seriously. These are ways that taking privacy seriously might make you more competitive.

I think the big one for me is transparency. Showing customers that you are open and up front with data will pay off. Most of us know that our data is being collected. We know it's being used for marketing. Many of us don't love the idea, but we also do get used to the value we do get from services. A few people might balk, but once they realize everyone is collecting and using data, they'll appreciate those that are more transparent.

Certifications are nice, and having employees work on security can help, but for privacy, we need to help customers understand how and why we use data. We need to respect their data, and learn to remove it when a business relationship goes away. It can be tough for many data pros and business people to get rid of data, but it's prudent, it reduces the strain on live systems, and it helps build trust with customers. Plus, if you are treating customers well and they appreciate it, they'll come back over and over, which usually means you won't ever need to trim much of their data.

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