FutureFive NZ - Consumers say NO to internet tracking

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Consumers say NO to internet tracking

Digital consumers around the world are starting to tire of their personal data being collected across the internet.

That is according to Ovum, who paint a threatening scenario for the internet economy, as consumers seek out new tools that allow them to remain untraceable and impossible to target by data means.

The company's recent survey shows 68% of the internet population across eleven countries would select a “do-not-track” (DNT) feature if it was easily available, suggesting that a data black hole could soon open up under the internet economy.

This hardening of consumer attitudes, coupled with tightening regulation, could diminish personal data supply lines and have a considerable impact on targeted advertising, CRM, big data analytics, and other digital industries.

“Unfortunately, in the gold rush that is big data, taking the supply of ‘little data’ – personal data – for granted seems to be an accident waiting to happen,” says Mark Little, principal analyst, Ovum.

“However, consumers are being empowered with new tools and services to monitor, control, and secure their personal data as never before, and it seems they increasingly have the motivation to use them.”

Regular internet user Rob Williams, echoed the findings, telling of his annoyance at having his personal data collected on a daily basis.

"It's becoming tiresome now," he complained. "It is the same old deal every time you use the internet and it got old a long time ago.

"What ever happened to jumping online to check the latest sports results, book a cinema ticket or buy something without being targeted?

"The sooner we can all get back to being anonymous online, the better in my opinion."


Recent data privacy scandals such as WhatsApp’s use of address books, and the continuing issues over privacy and data use policies on Facebook and Google websites have fueled consumers’ concerns over the protection of their personal data.

Only 14% of respondents in the survey believe that internet companies are honest about their use of consumers’ personal data, suggesting it will be a challenge for online companies to change consumers’ perceptions.

“Internet companies need a new set of messages to change consumers’ attitudes," Little says.

"These messages must be based on positive direct relationships, engagement with consumers, and the provision of genuine and trustworthy privacy controls.

"Most importantly, data controllers need a better feel for the approaching disruption to their supply lines, and must invest in tools that help them understand the profile of today’s negatively-minded users – tomorrow’s invisible consumers.”

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