Customer Service (Privacy) for Web Users?
It seems the federal government is making some strong suggestions to companies such as Google, Microsoft and Apple that it’s about time they employ some technology to prevent advertisers from tracking consumer movement across the Web. In other words, why isn’t consumer privacy protected when we power up and go online? Isn’t that all part of customer service; to protect our privacy wherever we shop? Of course some tracking is needed for the Internet to function, but invasive practices by advertisers and online publishers have taken the privacy out of our virtual shopping carts too many times.
It seems rather strange to the technologically handicapped person like myself to understand why advertisers get away with tracking consumers around the Internet? No matter where we go or what we buy, some company is making a pitch to sell me something, and I just know it’s not a coincidence. This practice, called behavioral advertising is invasive and generally annoying. After all, don’t we all remember the constant badgering of telephone solicitations during dinner hour? Didn’t we all welcome the “Do Not Call” registry for telephone solicitors?
Let’s face it; consumers don’t want to be tracked, and I shutter to think what is being done with the personal information these “cookies” gather on me whenever I search the Web. No matter what I look up, what I buy, or what advice I seek, someone is looking to invade my privacy and make a profit. According to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz), consumers want to shop, browse and share information that is respectful of someone’s personal information.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va) stated;
“I want ordinary consumers to know what is being done with their personal information, and I want to give them the power to do something about it.”
Online privacy demands began with the Federal Trade Commission and are calling for a “Do Not Track” type of technology. Surely the entrepreneurial technology gurus have an idea how to protect customer privacy. If this were to become law, it would become illegal to collect identifying information including names, email addresses, and credit card numbers without an individual’s consent. Sensitive data like religion, sexual preferences and identity as well as health related issues would be prohibited unless a person consented. Businesses would have to make it clear how data is used; customer service on the Internet would prevail.
photo credit: red.es
Douglas Hanna is CEO of A Small Orange, a high-end web hosting company that prides itself on quality customer service and support. In addition to his role at A Small Orange, Douglas founded and writes for Service Untitled, a popular blog on customer service and the customer service experience.
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