Understanding Privacy and Data Collection
Data collection is part of life. Many consumers already know this and have accepted it. It is important for consumers to understand what type of information is being collected, and why it is being collected. Most companies collect some form of information from customers and visitors. Reasons can vary, but often fall in one of these following categories.
1. Companies want to sell more of what they have to offer (cross-sell, up-sell, etc.)
2. Companies want to monetize the information they collected or aggregated – by selling to third parties or partners – Behavior tracking.
3. Companies want to offer better experience in their products and services – For example tweaking the UI of a website or mobile App, so that users are able to accomplish tasks easily.
4. Normal business operation or for providing the service – Companies need to collect data to provide the service a customer signed up for.
Regardless of the type of company, or the service, from a consumer standpoint, all data collected fall in one of the following 5 categories.
1. Basic Information
2. Sensitive Information
3. Financial Information
4. Health Information
5. Behavior/Other Information
The Clarip platform categorizes all data in one of the above categories.
This is the most common information that most websites and apps collect. Examples include your name, email address, phone number, street address etc. It is often impossible to use any product or service without sharing some of this basic information. We have seen people use secondary email addresses or temporary email addresses for many services.
Obviously, as the name suggests, it is important to use caution when sharing with this type of information. Examples include SSN (Social Security Numbers), date of birth, Passport number, driver license number, etc. Banks, financial institutions, health care providers are some of the entities that collect this information. It is almost impossible to get around this, but normally it is safe and widely accepted by consumers for legitimate reasons. Medical and financial records are tied to individual’s SSN, since that is the most common unique identifier available.
Credit card numbers, expiration dates, billing zip codes, bank account numbers, etc. fall in this category. Consumers should never enter these (or any of the sensitive information) online in a non-encrypted site. When making purchases online, it is quite common to enter financial information. Consumers should make sure the site or app is trustworthy and it uses SSL (“https” in the address bar) on the checkout pages for handling transactions.
All medical and dental information falls under this category. Only healthcare providers (doctors, labs, etc.) and health insurers should be able to access this information. With EHR/EMR (Electronic Health Records / Electronic Medical records) most health information is already in electronic form. Cloud storage vendors are likely to have access, so consumers need to throughly understand the privacy policies of health care providers.
Everything consumers do online (and offline in some cases). Every click, every mouse move, every search, the time of visit, the number of times a site is visited, and hundreds of other parameters make up the behavior. This is the single most area where companies collect data to track visitors and customers.
The Clarip platform brings consumers and companies together and helps consumers understand which what data is being collected about them. Signup Free to learn more.