This ad from ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is absolutely hilarious, on the money and not too far from a feasible reality atleast in terms of technology viability. Have a look at how a sale is being made on a pizza - while the salesperson tactfully helps the customer to make the healthier choice.
It is a no brainer. Personal information if shared and mined can be used to make a convincing business case which leads to revenues and cross selling opportunities. The infrastructure is there, the marketing fundamentals are there, the datamining tools are there and the rules are easily built. But having taken a privacy training - big firms will not implement this.
While aggregation of data is valid and OK for use in business decision making use of aggregated data to finally pinpoint a customer without the customer's prior approval in a tacit or tight contract and thereby make a specific decision is just plain wrong - ethically and these days, legally too! That should make HardeepW (my GM) happy for having "recommended" the 2 hr training for me. [Actually when "recommendations" come from management - it is pretty much mandatory for us, but lets just go with the word recommended 🙂 ]
I know back in my bschool at Tepper(Carnegie Mellon) courses relating to Computational Marketing or leveraging DataMining for analytical decision making are a niche core competency that the school is absolutely the best known for. 30% of the time spent on those courses are spent on understanding privacy and ethical issues. But then again - not all managers go to Tepper (Notice how deviously I have hijacked this blog into a Tepper-ad) - which is why customers should be made aware of their rights. Therein comes the reason why ACLU's ad is on the money!
So next time you go to Amazon.com and your bookbuying spree comes back with a list of "Customers interested in this may also be interested in ....." STOP and remember this ad and ponder - what else is being collected here? And YES - pls read the privacy agreement (the boring piece of window that we click OK and I AGREE to without even having a clue what we had agreed to)!
Enough preaching. This post will go under my Good Deed for the week list.