Have you ever had that sensation of being monitored all the time? Every place you go, every step a person take? Well, Google is being sued by attorneys general in different US states meant for using “deceptive and unjust practices” to obtain user place data.
Basically, the lawsuit accuses the world’ t biggest internet search engine of using “ dark patterns” to deliver more location data. By obscure patterns we can understand that they are a type of “trick” within the design of the website or application that induces the users to consider an action that, explicitly, they would not choose.
Take a look at this article for more details on the process, what Google (claims) to have done in relation to it and, finally, the importance of capturing consumer data with transparency.
Google’ s answer
The bipartisan lawsuit — supported by Democratic and Republican attorneys general from D. Chemical., Indiana, Texas and Washington — alleges that among 2014 and 2019, Search engines misled users, making them think that turning off location history configurations would stop their information from being tracked.
However, the company claims to have made, recently, many improvements in relation to location data, making it easier for the user to manage and, therefore, increasing openness .
In: Topics API. Out: FLoC
Additionally , Search engines recently announced that the FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) project will be replaced with the Topics API.
FLoC is really a (somewhat controversial) proposal to replace cookies with interest-based advertising. Basically, the idea was in order to group users with compatible interests. But , as we stated, even before it was launched, FLoC was heavily criticized by authorities linked to data safety and was left apart.
In the Topics API suggestion, the idea is that, while the users move around the web, the browser “learns” about their interests. At first, the browser could keep user data in the history for 3 weeks and the number of topics is restricted in order to 300, but there are already plans to increase these numbers.
Websites visited by the user are categorized based on these topics, and in case a website has not been categorized before, it will probably be done by a machine understanding algorithm, which will suggest an estimated topic. Therefore , Google can understand a user’ s i9000 interests.
When accessing any kind of website that supports the particular Google API, three subjects that the user has been interested in over the last 3 weeks will be shared. This list of topics will be randomly picked through the top 5 topics each week.
Considering data shared for advertising reasons, the Topics API really allows for greater privacy. Also, an important point is that sensitive data such as gender, race and sexual orientation will never be provided, preventing any possibility of discrimination by advertisers.
In addition , Google reinforces that it offers users settings that permit much more control and transparency than the current format. In the future, each person will be able to edit their own list of topics — revising, removing and even deactivating too.
The company also provides a complete page to guide users in order to manage location history information. The page offers information about how to enable, disable and even delete the history.
Why is this an essential matter
At this point you might be thinking why we are covering this topic? Simple: because the way we capture and use user data is very important. And yes it must be transparent!
Among the information that Google collects through consumers, location information is probably the most sensitive data and that, if gathered — whether or not over a short or long period of time — can expose a person (their identity, routine, etc . ) or allow for the deduction of personal information, such as a regular membership to political/religious groups plus marriage, among many others.
This isn’ t at all the first data privacy scandal which has pushed companies to make decisions (and that has especially alarmed people who rely on ads to succeed in their marketing campaigns).
Last year Apple launched apple iphone privacy feature , App Tracking Transparency (ATT) plus required that apps request authorization from users before tracking them across other apps and websites.
Not only this was obviously a problem for the marketer totally reliant on tracking information, but also has made a real monetary damage on some interpersonal platforms. According to a report, businesses like Facebook, Youtube, Snapchat, and Twitter lost more than U$10B within ad revenues after Apple’s privacy adjustments.
And of course that, like the controversies over Google’ ersus lawsuit, worries most entrepreneurs.
In Digital Marketing, it really is impossible to think of any technique without using data. We know that these are essential to better understand the profile of the customer or potential customer and, from that, offer more appropriate content and services or products.
In this case, transparency is a lot more necessary. It is necessary to demand authorization and always make it clear to the user what data is being collected, in addition to providing an option to “unsubscribe”, one example is.
After all, does it make sense getting thousands of contacts in your foundation if they are not interested in whatever you offer? Or if for each 10 emails you send out, the user opens 1?
In a privacy-first and cookieless entire world, collecting first-party data by means of great content can be a great way to keep generating leads and revenue.
To collect data properly and transparently, here are some tips:
- Show the importance of collecting that will data for the user;
- Emphasize (and place in practice) the security of the info provided;
- Ask permission (always! );
- Facilitate collection (if possible, through integrations with Gmail, Facebook, etc).
And, of course , be sure to deliver the promised value at the time of data capture. As the customers understand the benefits of providing information, they are going to consequently trust your company a lot more, which will make this authorization and data delivery dynamic actually smoother.
Transparency and respect for privacy are not only necessary practices from a legal viewpoint. By being transparent and respecting the privacy of your users, you will certainly have a lot more valuable data and create even better decisions regarding your online marketing strategy!
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