In 2020, the battle lines were drawn in the fight for consumer data privacy. In 2021 Apple released iOS14.5 with ATT and privacy changes are continuing in 2022. Trust is the next first-party data opportunity to make your company stand out.


(Blog post updated January 2022)

Apple’s Stand On First-Party Data

In January 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook, took a stand for consumer privacy rights in an article for Time Magazine, asserting that consumers have a right to know how their data is being used

The past few years have been like the “wild west” in data harvesting. Taking a stand for consumer privacy is a calculated move on Apple’s part. Building trust around data and privacy is necessary in today’s digital world.

Apple is wise to focus on trust being the next big thing and with the massive privacy changeto their latest iOS14.5 release they are doubling down on first-party data privacy . The tech company’s bold position confirms that online privacy is a polarizing issue of our time.

Apple's new iOS14.5 privacy centre

Apple’s iOS14.5 new privacy centre. Image courtesy of Apple.

The Dark Side of Consumer Data Privacy

On the other side, big companies are even becoming more bold in their attempts to collect consumer data. In January 2020, TechCrunch reported both Facebook and Google had apps in the Apple Store that were shut down because they were tracking users on their devices, flying in the face of Apple’s policies.

Businesses we trust and depend on have found a shady path to making big money — tracking users and brokering their data. And for some, it’s going to be a tough habit to break.

For consumers, agreeing to give up some data is an expected part of digital life. Most of the time, if we want (or need) to use an app, buy a product, or subscribe to a service, we can’t avoid a certain amount of data in trade.

But consumer advocates and governments are starting to step in. Purchasing a product online shouldn’t lead to your data being sold to a broker. Credit card companies and online services shouldn’t be collecting and selling your information without your knowledge or consent. As Cook mentions in his article, these violations happen every second of every day.

Stay Ahead of Data Privacy Legislation

GDPR protects consumer data privacy rights

The world needs more progressive data privacy regulations like the GDPR in Europe, the CPPA and CCPR in California.

As regulations and consumer advocates stop companies from harvesting data for a competitive advantage, our digital world becomes more and more polarized. Good vs. bad companies, trustworthy vs. suspicious business practices. So what does the next age of data look like for businesses?

The crack-down on shady data practices is starting. Cook’s article calls on the U.S. Congress to “pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation.”

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) implemented in Europe in May 2018 is the most comprehensive legal mechanism so far, intending to put control back into the hands of the consumer. Under the GDPR, consumers can explicitly deny or agree to transfer their data to a company they trust.

Being known as a “trustworthy” brand is becoming a requirement to doing business online.

Trust is The New Age of First-Party Data

As data collection and legislation matures, it’s time to re-think how data can create something beneficial for the consumer. And this is where data really excels — it can personalize mutually-beneficial, two-way relationships with consumers, setting companies up to perfectly serve their customer base.

This new age of consumer data will be about forming more useful relationships with individuals. Think about movie suggestions on Netflix, or useful product suggestions on Amazon. The right products can be offered to the right buyers — even more so, the right products can actually be invented and refined to anticipate the buyers’ needs and serve them perfectly.

And customers will have easy access and full rights to approve or deny a company’s forays into their data. This is why trust will be such a huge first-party data privacy opportunity.

Making a Data-Enabled Future Possible

Zoom ahead to the Jetsons future and imagine your GroceriesNow App alerts you that it’s just ordered sourdough bread, soy milk, and eggs because it knows you’re about to run out. You’ve already agreed with GroceriesNow that you trust them to order on your behalf because they know what you want, saving you time and decreasing your mental load.

a picture from the old tv show the jetsons

How can create a positive future by nurturing a beneficial two-way relationship between companies and consumers?

I know I’m looking forward to the day when a self-driving car shows up, unordered, in anticipation of my flight, and at the right time based on traffic and immigration lines at the airport. But we don’t get to this future without some sort of two-way data relationship.

The new age of data requires a big adjustment for many businesses as well as consumers. Instead of seeing data agreements and privacy as a challenge, think about knowing more about your customer and serving them better, more creatively, more uniquely.

With Chrome and Google expected to make data privacy changes in 2023, we’re facing a cookieless future. But don’t fear. First-party data can build a better relationship with a more invested audience who find value in a product or service. The first step is to rebuild that trust.

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