Data In Balance – The Benefits Of Responsible Data Use


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The relationship between technology, commerce and privacy has often been a confused one. Raised by internet data, mobile communications, GPS, census, marketing information and more, concerns about big data use, privacy and security are always relevant and must be addressed to avoid mistrust and misperception. Discussion into data’s proper use is natural and important!

Addressing this, it’s wise to be aware of the information you’re sending out and the data you’re creating, and many people are rightly curious as to what data providers do with data. But how much do you know? Are you aware of how useful your data actually is and how it can be used to help you?

Why do we need data products? How data benefits individuals, enriches society and enhances customer experiences

Once we know the importance of data it’s easier to understand why society needs it, and how it’s a beneficial asset. But to enhance consumer experiences and lives, it must be handled with respect.

Permissions are constantly changing to ensure data is used for best purpose. The information used in marketing is very different to that used to assess insurance or credit eligibility for example. And because what’s personal is not always private, governments, businesses, marketers and above all data providers must continually consider what’s appropriate when using cookies, records, location data etc, and keep both themselves and consumers informed and ahead of regulation.

If used correctly, responsible use of data creates commerce, economic growth and jobs. Beneficial uses include:

? Improving health services – Allowing better preparation and coordination of services to better and lengthen lives.
? Allowing people to speak their opinions freely, and find what they’re looking for – businesses, public services, people – easier.
? Keeping us financially secure, alerting us better to fraud and other (such as identity) threats.
? Make the world safer – Data facilitates law enforcement and the identification of offenders (through CCTV, search data etc).
? Fuelling love lives – Online dating is now responsible for 1 out of every 6 marriages in the USA.
? Enhancing customer experience through targeted advertising. Better retailer/consumer relationships also boost loyalty, customer retention and reduce costs for businesses.

Altogether personal data use is all about balance. Any misuse or regulatory breach will damage trust and cause data misperceptions and concerns. But if responsible data providers ensure relevant data is used responsibly by the right parties, make security the highest priority, and ensure all clients meet regulatory standards and keep consumers informed of choice and data rights (transparency), then big data can continue as a trusted long-term facilitator, personalising and enhancing modern living.

Jed Mole
Jed Mole is European Marketing Director at Acxiom, a data, analytics and software-as-a-service company.


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