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Internet economy at risk over consumer tracking, new report warns

Digital consumers around the world are starting to tire of their personal data being collected across the Internet, says Ovum. The analyst firm recently painted what it described as a threatening scenario for the Internet economy, as consumers...


February 7, 2013  


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Digital consumers around the world are starting to tire of their personal data being collected across the Internet, says Ovum. The analyst firm recently painted what it described as a threatening scenario for the Internet economy, as consumers seek out new tools that allow them to remain “invisible” – untraceable and impossible to target by data means.

Ovum’s latest Consumer Insights Survey reveals that 68% of the Internet population across 11 countries would select a “do-not-track” (DNT) feature if it was easily available, suggesting that a data black hole could soon open up under the Internet economy. This hardening of consumer attitudes, coupled with tightening regulation, could diminish personal data supply lines and have a considerable impact on targeted advertising, CRM, big data analytics, and other digital industries.

“Unfortunately, in the gold rush that is big data, taking the supply of ‘little data’ — personal data — for granted seems to be an accident waiting to happen,” said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum. “However, consumers are being empowered with new tools and services to monitor, control, and secure their personal data as never before, and it seems they increasingly have the motivation to use them”

 “Internet companies need a new set of messages to change consumers’ attitudes. These messages must be based on positive direct relationships, engagement with consumers, and the provision of genuine and trustworthy privacy controls. Most importantly, data controllers need a better feel for the approaching disruption to their supply lines, and must invest in tools that help them understand the profile of today’s negatively-minded users — tomorrow’s invisible consumers.”