Winning trust with an ethical Privacy Strategy
Consumer trust in digital services has taken a bit of beating over the past few years with a number of high-profile instances of data misuse by the likes of Amazon, WhatsApp, Google and others. Now more than ever it feels like transparent, ethical use of data can help businesses win over the trust of their customers.
What is a Privacy Strategy?
A Privacy Strategy can be adopted by an organisation of any size. If you’re a smaller business, it doesn’t have to be a complex network of operational and legislative policies and directives and expensive software. It can be as simple as merely recording the people, processes and technology you use to keep your company and customer data safe.
The ICO provides a wealth of guidance on privacy. They want you to be clear in providing individuals with an understanding of how you are using their personal data, and whether any policies are being properly enforced. They encourage you to adopt a ‘plain language’ policy for any public documents so there can be no ambiguity. As a business you must anticipate any risks and potential security events before they occur and to have measures in place to limit harm to individuals.
What about cookies?
Cookies are a bone of contention for me personally. Right now they’re a win/lose proposition between website owner and visitor. I’d like to see a world where every consent banner that appears is telling you that they’re only collecting essential information and giving you an option to opt in to provide more, perhaps with some incentive for giving up your data?
You may need a certain amount of data to improve the efficiency of your websites or service offering, or to help with your marketing campaigns – that’s fair enough. One of the most important rules of GDPR is to collect only what you need and to keep it only as long as you need it. If you don’t need the information to provide a service or to meet an external regulation, don’t ask for it. After all, you can’t misuse or inadvertently disclose information that you don’t have.
In the Data Governance world we say there are two types of companies, those who have experienced a breach, and those who don’t know that they have experienced a breach.
Keeping your privacy options user centric and applying strong privacy defaults while giving something back to anyone that shares data with you, is an easy way to build and maintain that level of trust with your customers.