GDPR, bitcoins, and the great privacy backlash

Google knows where you’ve been. Facebook knows what you’ve been thinking about buying. Netflix knows your sense of humour, Spotify knows your taste in music and your news app knows whether you’re right or left on the political spectrum.

Your data is everywhere, and companies are using it to get to know you. While this has created convenience in terms of online browsing and digital personalisation, it comes at the cost of privacy.

Orwellian internet

Every ad you click leaves a digital trail. Every product you purchase, every website you browse and every comment you leave fills in a little more of a picture about you – for those who have the means to see.

Even if you avoid social media, you have limited protection. It’s a plain fact of modern life: companies across all industries will still be using technology to collect data on you.

And now, people are becoming increasingly aware of the various downsides of online tracking —including heightened surveillance, ads following you around while you click from site to site, and price fluctuations based on your profile and cookies.

The backlash has begun

High-profile security breaches have been prevalent in recent years. Couple that with widespread post-Snowden concerns about data sharing, and you get quite the cocktail of mistrust. With concerns rife, many consumers are looking to protect their privacy.

New GDPR regulations are an obvious reflection of these concerns. However, it’s also worth considering that a single bitcoin is now worth over £12,000, and DuckDuckGo, the privacy-first search engine, has hit 14 million searches in a day.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the rise in consumer reluctance with regards to tracking. In fact, two thirds of UK consumers are concerned about how businesses use their personal information. But what does that mean for brands?

The wary consumer

Brands are now faced with the challenge of winning back consumer trust. Consumers are more guarded than ever before, and companies will suffer inevitable losses if they fail to build confidence with regards to personal data.

Your customers want transparency on what personal data you have, why you have it, what you use it for, and how you protect it. With GDPR on the horizon, it’s the perfect opportunity to commit to clarity and renovate your customer data processes.

A privacy promise

Just as more consumers are buying with bitcoin and browsing in privacy, they’re also looking to GDPR to protect their data. They’re increasingly discerning when it comes to data, and increasingly aware of their interactions with businesses. This digital-savvy consumer wants to take ownership over their personal information. Plus, they expect you to make it easy for them to do so.

For businesses, it’s time to evolve from a mindset of compliance only. Instead, companies should operate with a mindset of customer-centricity, taking into account the growing demand for personal data to be handled sensitively and ethically.

The privacy revolt is starting. Take steps to protect your business, and your customers, today.

Useful links

GDPR and the dark web

WhosOn and GDPR

WhosOn installable edition