A CTO’s point of view on the privacy in the world of analytics

cover pic CTO privacy article

Modern technology often feels amazing as well as scary, and in the world of analytics, the scary part is often hidden from plain sight.

For any website or mobile app owner, it is important to understand the behavior of its users and various tools are readily available. Usually, the choice of a tool is driven by the features offered but it should not be the only aspect considered when choosing it.

In a world dominated by data, data protection and data privacy is becoming a top priority. For Apple, the data privacy is one of the top differentiating aspects of their devices when compared to the competition. It is not unreasonable to say that data privacy should be a top priority when it comes to analytics.

But is it, really?

Let’s assume a scenario where one is an owner of a brick and mortar store and one wants to analyze the customer’s behaviour within the premises.

Solution provided by company A is offering a solution that starts tracking at the entrance and stops tracking customers at the exit. The data collected by company A belongs to you and are not being used for anything other than your business analytics.

Solution provided by company B is offering a solution that starts tracking your customers when they leave their homes, then it keeps track of them while they are visiting your store and is continuously tracking them during their visits to other stores as well. The data collected during their visit in your store are made available to you, but also used by company B for their own business purposes.

The scenario with the analytics solution provided by company A is what Smartlook is doing. It keeps track of your customers, provides insights for you as the owner and strictly limits the tracking to the extent defined by your company. Company’s A primary business is to provide service to you, utilizing your data – it is not to use your customer’s data for the “greater” purpose.

The scenario with the analytics solution provided by company B is what ad-tech companies are nowadays doing. Their primary business goal is not to provide insights to your business – it is to gather data for their own good, the more data the better.

Each and every business owner should take this into consideration when choosing an analytics solution.

Every business owner should always remember – if it’s free then you’re paying with your data.

author Ondřej Machek


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