Trading Privacy for Advantage: The Way to Better Service or an Invasion of Privacy?

VP product marketing, Acunu

When he wasn’t being distracted by the footie (today I use a Brit term – you can work out what I’m talking about) and amongst a lot of other themes, Curt Monash made a few observations on privacy in his EnZee Universe presentation. I find this topic scary but fascinating. As I wrote previously, there’s some fantastic opportunities to use customer data to deliver better, more customized service. My feeling is that we’ll willingly make the trade of our data, and by implication our privacy, for the advantage of being better served, provided we are better served. Although we might, each of us, respond differently to our grocery store knowing more about what we want to buy this morning than we do ourselves.

We saw what happened at Facebook when they overstepped the mark on re-purposing our data, but I feel there is a subtle difference between on the one hand re-purposing data gathered in an intentional relationship to improve that relationship and on the other selling it to third parties to create new uninvited relationships. But from the reactions I saw of my own non-tech friends in that instance at least part of the resentment was the shock at how much privacy they had inadvertently traded for the value they get from the site.

There’s a lesson for us all to learn about the need for pro-active transparency about data, privacy and re-use, certainly with my generation. Maybe generation-Y just don’t care.

I’m drafting this in breaks between sessions of the Netezza Advisory Council that has been running since the conference ended. It’s a forum for interested and innovative customers with Netezza engineering, product management and product marketing management (not sure how I snuck in). The objective is to help Netezza prioritize development by taking input from customer pain points and use cases and from seeking customer feedback to research projects that are maturing in the NZLabs. In the course of the discussion we looked at some very exciting new technologies, but more of them another day. It’s time for me to head for the airport. Knackered and keen to get home.

Hi to anyone i met at the conference. Especially the guys who wanted to get revenge on me for sticking a mic under their noses when i was doing my roving-reporter impersonation by sticking a phone video camera in may face late at night in a pub. Cheers guys. I hope you got some lovely footage. I doubt it.