Why using privacy-enhancing technology enhances the privacy and protection of consumer information

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Enterprises in a variety of industries are using environmental data – and the insights derived from it – to solve a variety of business challenges. These include reaching the right audience with advertising, deciding where to open a new brick-and-mortar location, understanding where roadblocks are in the supply chain, and more.

However, despite the many benefits that insights from location data provide to the average person, consumer data privacy remains a concern. This often leaves businesses struggling to achieve the fine balance between using data to gain meaningful insights while ensuring consumer privacy.

More and more enterprises use location information

Location information is a powerful component of strategic enterprise capabilities such as customer targeting, acquisition, insights and retention. And, this data is being used by more companies than ever before.

A rideshare company that goes to customer pick-up and drop-off locations, a web app that offers local dining options, or a mobile app that lets a customer view news or soccer scores—all of these leverage location data. The trends and insights gained from this data help companies make critical decisions, develop strategies, and overall improve their businesses.


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However, companies are immediately responsible for handling users’ location data, regardless of how it is collected or shared outside the organization. Additionally (knowingly or unknowingly), companies with apps that collect location data may have data originating from sensitive locations such as health centers, places of worship, military bases, or schools. This data could be accidentally sold, used for analytics, accessed by a bad actor, or exposed during a data breach – all institutional risks of managing real-world data.

That’s why every company that holds or maintains consumer location data in any capacity must ensure that its own consumer data privacy and protection efforts exceed consumer expectations by using privacy-enhancing technologies. Although fully understanding the importance of consumer privacy and acquiring the types of tools needed to protect data can be a steep learning curve, there are ways the location technology industry can help.

Solving the learning process by democratizing access to privacy-enhancing technologies

Historically, proprietary privacy-enhancing technologies have been developed and used internally by location technology companies. However, we strongly believe that for all types of organizations to evolve to the level of consumer data privacy that people want and expect, the privacy-enhancing technologies created by local technology companies must be accessible to all companies that can benefit from these advances.

New efforts to make privacy-enhancing technologies available are helping organizations prevent location data generated by mobile devices from being used, shared, or resold. These tools help add industry-leading privacy controls to a company’s own systems and work with any local data, regardless of its origin. This helps ensure that a company meets privacy standards and protects consumer data.

If more technology companies make the privacy-enhancing features used in their own systems available to other companies, organizations in the industry can better protect the data stored in their systems, and in turn, the privacy and protection of consumer data will rapidly improve. . A critical starting point is democratizing access to these technologies.

The changing landscape of location data and consumer privacy

While there is no shortage of discussion about what can happen if someone’s sensitive data falls into the wrong hands, there is a lack of awareness of what the loss of environmental data can do to businesses and society as a whole, if the world no longer has access to it. . Environmental data can help solve business challenges, but it can also help solve challenges we face as a society, such as understanding how a virus spreads in a community or identifying evacuation routes in a natural disaster area so that aid can reach those. They need it the most. However, this data must still be collected on a front-end basis.

looking forward

Location data isn’t going anywhere, but privacy practices will continue to evolve as companies adopt new customer requirements and legislation, and as new sources of location data emerge, such as autonomous vehicles and new smart devices. Consumer privacy is now every company’s responsibility, and that’s why it’s more important than ever for every company that handles consumer data to use privacy-enhancing technologies to ensure that consumer data is protected.

Jeff White is the founder and CEO. Gravy analysis.


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