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Web searchers STILL don’t know which personal data is being collected

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Almost a third (32%) of searchers on the web are unaware that their personal location is collected in order to display personalised ads is just one worrying finding by Reboot Digital Marketing Agency when it looked into Ofcom data on how well versed consumers are in terms of data privacy.

Ever since the EU Cookie Law of 2011, it’s almost impossible to visit a website without being bombarded with seemingly pointless privacy messages.

The pop-ups we often see disclaim that a searchers’ personal information will be used in return for tailored/personalised ads. And yet, many internet users don’t know which typesof data are actually collected from them.

Reboot Digital Marketing Agencyanalysed findings by Ofcom in their AdTech Market Research Report, to reveal how savvy searchers are when understanding  their data privacy rights.

Ofcom conducted a survey of 1,690 searchers of free to use websites, asking users if they were aware of the 8 different types of data used to display personalised adverts.

What are the results?

The results reveal that the data type most searchers are unaware of is unique identification code (64% are unaware) – defined as a (alpha) numeric string identifying a single entity within the internet.

The next least well-known data type is searchers’ year of birth – a shocking 54% said they were unaware of this data collection.

This is followed by: Device identifiers (e.g. the model of phone, operating system and IP address – 53%); Gender (39%); Location (32%) and Past purchase history (31%).

The data types collected, that most people are aware of, are Search history and Browsing history –24%; however, still surprisingly high.

On top of a general lack of awareness, Reboot Digital Marketing Agency found from Ofcom’s report that more than half (53%) of searchers ignore cookie notices, therefore avoiding clicking to discover exactly how their details are being used.

And of those, almost 29% ignore cookies for the precise reason that they believe they can’t do anything about the use of their data. A worrying misconception.

 

In light of this, Reboot’s managing director Shai Aharony has provided his three top tips to ensure you don’t fall into the data privacy trap:

  1. Learn the jargon– There’s an abundance of technical terms in the online world, and understanding what they entail will help you to understand precisely how your data will be used. You could start by finding a layman’s guides to cookies, asking for help on forums and reading around general topics of relevance – and consequently take confidence in the fact that you’re in the know.
  2. Read the fine print– It’s important to understand which data is being collected about you. While the amount of words may be overwhelming, the more you read, the more understanding you will gain. You’ll start to notice similar writing styles and repeated terms/phrases between many websites, not to mention, your newfound knowledge for these technical jargons from following step 1.
  3. Don’t ignore pop-ups– Many notifications state that by browsing a website, you agree to its terms and conditions. By proceeding to browse without reading said Ts and Cs, you’re automatically giving websites the go-ahead. Make sure to check what data is being collected, and know that if you want to change your preferences then you can do immediately.
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Paul Skeldon

Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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