Editorial: Is It Too Late?

Share this content:
Privacy advocates like to talk about the lack of privacy. Unfortunately, marketers haven't always liked to talk about what they do with the information they collect. Enter lawmakers with sweeping legislative fixes that won't be pleasant. Those privacy policies sent out to comply with Gramm-Leach-Bliley this spring and summer did nothing to further the cause for business. The statements were confusing, and most people didn't even read them.


Meanwhile, if you're waiting for the Privacy Leadership Initiative to come up with a campaign that sets the tone, don't. Do it yourself. And the best way? Hit people where they live: their checkbooks. Tell Betty Customer why she can get a car loan in half an hour. Why the purchase her husband, Joe, is about to make is cheaper because of the sharing of information. Why this lets them get a mortgage loan at 7 percent instead of 9 percent. Let information be the weapon of choice, and you'll boost retention, improve customer loyalty and increase market share. This is what many marketers told Congress last week.


Peter J. Wallison put forth some sanity in The New York Times last week with the column "When Privacy Is a Credit Risk." Wallison, who was President Reagan's counsel in 1986-87, said getting explicit consent from customers before their financial information can be transferred to a third party sounds reasonable, "and it would certainly protect privacy, but at great costs to consumers." He goes on to explain the benefits of sharing data in dollars and cents and questions why lawmakers want to change the current system. "One answer may be that they think of privacy in terms of government snooping." That's not it. Financial institutions simply want to weed out the good credit risks from the bad ones.


Companies need to make it clear there are no secret data banks of personal information and they won't collect data for other purposes without the consumer's consent. Some legislation is fine, but it needs to address the problem. Cut off the flow of data, and consumers will come to realize why they never wanted that in the first place. But by then it will be too late.
Loading links....

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa Data has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa Data offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

DMN's Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here