Privacy, please!

I love data. Pivot tables make my heart go pitter patter. I’ll happily spend a Saturday sifting through survey data. It’s safe to say that I appreciate the data that comes with social media. It’s also a perspective that gives you a better understanding of where that data comes from and how the targeted marketing sausage is made.

There have been two interesting stories about privacy and social networks happen lately. The first is a court case between LinkedIn and a startup named hiQ Labs. hiQ scrapes data from public profiles on LinkedIn, analyses it, and sells the results to employers, who can then use the data to ensure valuable employees don’t leave the company.

LinkedIn says that this is “violating the trust LinkedIn users place in the site.” hiQ argues that LinkedIn is trying to crush potential competition and free speech.  And now they’re off to court, and I’m off to check my privacy settings.

The second story comes out of Europe, where there are new rules around data privacy for citizens of the EU. The details get technical quickly, but it covers things like how data is collected, stored and managed, no matter where the company is based. Europe generally has stricter requirements around online privacy; Facebook has been hit with big fines, and several countries challenged how it integrated WhatsApp user data.                                      
Even with my analytics-loving ways, I’m actually happy to see people talking about how social data is used. I’m comfortable with Facebook scanning the info I post on their site, but I raised my eyebrows when they started tracking non-users.  And I really don’t want my company tracking what I do in my personal time, even through I’m not looking for a job. I’m fine with sharing data. I just want to know where it’s going.

About the author:
Tara Saylor is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.