Nowadays, especially after the PRISM-leak, people are increasingly concerned about privacy and personal data. In this upheaval where people do not know what could happen to their information, or who can access it, companies are trying to adapt to this concern. Could a choice for the consumers what happens to their data be a new lucrative marketing tool in business?
Privacy issues and accessibility of online information has become apparent relatively recently, in the age when people are more and more online. The sharing of personal information for online accounts has been natural for users of the internet for quite some time, until people realized that information they considered private were accessible for others, advertising agencies being only the tip of the iceberg. Through groups of people who attempt to protect private information, privacy issue became a prime matter of concern internationally, revealing websites that share users’ information. This new development could present an opportunity for organizations and businesses who seek to maintain their discreteness though protecting private information.
An important factor for businesses to decide for more transparent privacy regulations might be the annual Who’s Got Your Back-list, compiled by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In this list EFF publishes which companies protect your information from the government. This list is increasingly consulted by consumers who decide where to buy their products, depending on how safe their data is with the companies. This might also go the other way around: the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse publishes a chronology of data breaches, updated regularly, containing the names of organizations and the dates when they breached user data. Needless to say, a place on that list means negative publicity for the organizations involved. Thus, adhering to privacy standards and securing integrity of data might be a new aim for companies.
It makes sense to state that organizations that have clear and inviolable privacy statements, or businesses that protect consumers´ rights against advertisers or security agencies can count on more support from consumers than those who do not. Therefore, in the light of recent attention to privacy breaches, it could very well be that the non-violation of privacy standards will become a marketing tool for companies as a means for image building for the consumer.
If this development would continue, businesses and organizations might have the edge over competitors that do not actively advertise protecting user information. When the marketing of protecting online information expands, privacy on the internet will be self-evident and the international concern over this issue will be resolved.