What's ethical data and why does it matter?
Most people have no idea of the detail or depth of data that big tech companies collect about them, or what they use it for, or how much money it generates. Which makes the whole existing process of personal data collection and exploitation completely unethical.
Ecommerce is built on the foundation of customer data. It’s only by knowing something about you as a customer that companies can target you with advertising.
But this customer data is data that’s collected covertly by the big tech companies. By Facebook as you live your social life. By Google as you use their products to find things, travel places and communicate with friends. Most people have no idea of the detail or depth of data that these companies collect about them, or what they use it for, or how much money it generates. Which makes the whole existing process of personal data collection and exploitation completely unethical.
Ethical data has three key components.
Firstly, it’s collected with complete transparency. So customers can provide the data themselves: for example, by answering survey-type questions. Or it can be collected as they use a service: for example, by recording which items they look at or buy. But the key is that they must be completely aware of what data is being collected.
Secondly, ethical data is used with complete transparency. So whether it’s to target advertising, understand customer behaviour or to personalise an experience, the people who’ve provided the data must have a completely clear understanding of what it’ll be used for – so they can decide whether or not to share it in the first place
Thirdly, for data to be truly ethical, the value it generates must be shared fairly with its providers. If it’s sold on, its value has to be shared. If a company uses customer data to sell more to a customer, then they should receive a benefit – a special offer or discount. It should always be a two way street.
And why do we need ethical data? Well, the current unethical model of data use in ecommerce has no future in the face of rising regulation and hardening consumer sentiment. It exploits consumers and engenders mistrust and resistance. It needs to be replaced by a digital economy powered by ethical data, which is completely transparent and builds the trust that will strengthen relationships between consumers and brands, bringing them together rather than pushing them apart. Which is exactly what we’re pioneering at Numerous.