A World Economic report opines that personal data is the new oil. As such, companies want to generate this “new oil” in massive amounts and by any means. This means that for every individual that comes to any company, there is the tendency for that company to squeeze out massive amount of data.
Emeka visits a particular website. The website informs him that he can’t browse the site until he accepts the privacy notice and the cookie notice. Emeka, in haste, to read the article clicks accept. What Emeka doesn’t know is that he has accepted to be monitored by a hundred and eighty advertisers in various formats.
So, when Emeka tells his wife that he is going to take her to dinner in the evening, he receives a text about restaurants that suits his romantic purpose. And, yes, the text message can have exact details of what he had said in passing to his wife. Emeka can’t undo this tracking because he simply accepted a cookie notice that he thought wasn’t harmful.
Enterprises are springing up new ways to continue to mine data. The onus, therefore, is on data subjects to be wary of what they accept on policies. Some companies intentionally make their privacy and cookies notices cumbersome for readers and even when they claim that data subjects can withdraw consent easily, when one probes further one finds out that that is not the case.
I subscribed to receiving marketing emails from one book company with regards to receiving purchase discounts. When the emails became too much, I decided to unsubscribe and found out that I needed to fill another form to unsubscribe. It took some time for me to finally unsubscribe from receiving such emails.
It is safe to say that when individuals click “accept” willy-nilly on websites they are now pawns in the hands of most companies. These companies process the information in perpetuity. There is always that caveat to individuals, if you are not sure of what you’re accepting on any website, don’t click accept.
The onus is on individuals to see what cookie session the company places on your device. For functionality and necessity purposes, you can accept it. However, when one is not sure, it is better to click “manage” consent than simply clicking “accept”. There are two things that happens when you want to manage consent: first, one can see the advertisers lurking around in the corner willing to pay website owners for monitoring data subjects in various forms and second, one can disallow such intrusiveness.
The burden regulators place on companies includes having a transparent privacy notice on their website. However, what you read on privacy notices might not be what the company practises. It is a safe bet therefore to spend time scheming through these notices for the sake of blocking excessive intrusiveness on one’s privacy.
Gathering digital information footprints of users is what most companies sell and one sure way of getting this information is by creating a ruse of telling users to accept complex privacy and cookie notices. The smart data subject should probe these notices before clicking accept.