Sharing Your Personal Data

What is your personal data?

Personal data is any information that relates to an identified or identifiable individual. Examples include name, phone number, credit card number, number plate, customer number or address. Personal data can also include one or several special characteristics, which expresses the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, commercial, cultural or social identity of these natural persons.

How is my Personal Data Used?

Customer data is a focus area all its own. From consumer behaviour to predictive analytics, companies regularly capture, store, and analyse large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data on their customer base every day. Some companies have built an entire business model around customer data and may use personal data to understand their customers better and provide a more effective or efficient service. Some businesses share personal data with third parties, who use it to provide insights or advice (like which insurance would suit you based on transaction history), to create new products and services (like Facebook games and other apps that connect users to their friends), or to market relevant products to customers.

Personal data can also be used in ways that benefit all of us. For example, under certain conditions it can be used in medical. It is collected, shared and used in our day-to-day lives. When we go to a shop and use a contactless card to pay for groceries, the shop collects and uses personal data about us – such as the card number, how much we spent and who with – to process the payment.

What is data portability?

Data portability or sharing personal data is a concept to protect users from having their (personal) data stored in “silos” or “walled gardens” that are incompatible with one another. It allows data subjects to obtain data that a data controller holds on them and to reuse it for their own purposes. Individuals are free to either store the data for personal use or to transmit it to another data controller. It is essentially a way of customers asking businesses who hold their data, to hold it in a format that can be easily shared across multiple services. This is because the data must be received “in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format”.

Benefits of Sharing or Porting Personal Data

Personal data allows businesses to have information about you, enabling them to provide offers and services that are tailored, relevant and personalised to you. It allows them to communicate with you at the right time, through the right channel, on the right device.

For example, Netflix recommendation finds a movie or tv show for you to watch, based on your viewing preference and interaction with the streaming platform. Online retailers send you personalised offers to help you save money on the things you buy often, or recommendations to encourage you to try something new based on purchase behaviour.

Therefore, online customers who share their personal information can enjoy highly personalised product suggestions, faster checkouts, and membership reward programmes.

This means individuals no longer have to be bombarded by marketing communications irrelevant to them, which as we all know, can be both annoying and frustrating.

We all want to pay the right price for the right product, and no-one likes paying over the odds. Good marketing creates healthy competition among brands, resulting in fair pricing for the products and services you pay for.

We consume huge amounts of content online, from news and entertainment to social media, for example the daily mail and Facebook are both free for customers to use. However, they both advertise through their platforms to generate revenue for the companies, targeting consumers with Ads. Facebook collects data about your interests and traits and then allows advertisers to access this information to present you with tailored offers.

Organizations use data to better understand you. This helps them provide great customer service and build trust in the way your data is used. For example, Kippie uses your personal data in an “Insurance Passport”, which is useable between countries. The insurance passport allows you to access their panel of insurers for 20-50% less than what they currently pay. Delivering a service at a more affordable price to customers.

What Are The Challenges Of Sharing Personal Data?

Despite the obvious benefits of sharing personal data, data access and sharing also comes with several risks to individuals and organizations. These include the risks of confidentiality and privacy breaches and the violation of other legitimate private interests, such as commercial interests. In the last few years, the media have reported a number of cases of personal data being mislaid or collected inadvertently. High profile examples such as when in early October of 2013, Adobe originally reported that hackers had stolen nearly 3 million encrypted customer credit card records, plus login data for an undetermined number of user accounts.

There is a risk that online companies may misuse or mishandle the personal data they hold and that individual details, e.g., email addresses, may be disclosed inadvertently or that data is not stored securely.

Should I Share Or Port My Data?

Thanks to new legislation, we can identify when our data is used for reasons that aren’t ethically ambiguous. So, is there enough harm in sharing our data to outweigh the benefits? The control we now have over our data not only means we can stop sharing/porting it far easier, but that there could be less of a need to.

When consumers have the right to withdraw their data at any time – and demand that it be deleted – there’s less risk involved with sharing it. Companies want to be able to use that data to improve their services and keep you the customer happy, therefore; they aren’t going to ensure they collect and use it in as ethical a manner as possible, as customers can see how their data is being used.

Customers have more control than ever before, and thanks to the new data legislation in effect, there less needs to be fearful of sharing your data. The consequences of data misuse are huge for businesses, and not remotely in their best interests.

From a more outward looking perspective, the benefits of safely sharing the data you’re comfortable sharing can spread to the wider public, as well as your own service experiences. Ultimately, the decision to continue, or stop, sharing our data comes down to every individual. It’s your data, it’s your decision.