Callcredit Blog

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?

Digital Services

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies or ‘who will guard the guards themselves’ is a question many of us will be asking ourselves in the shadow of the Prism furore – in English not Latin of course.  What is the right balance between surveillance and convenience?  What usage is ok and what is not?

We know supermarkets use information about us to drive marketing – indeed where would we be without our vouchers and reward points.  The Financial Times (link – registration required) recently reported how we’re all described by a patchwork of data from the cradle to the grave.  The ability to pinpoint those vital life changes (triggers and events) is crucial for marketers, but what’s in it for us as consumers?

To find out more about what data is held on you, here’s a list of resources that might come in handy:

  • Your Online Choices – visit this page and it will tell you what which ad providers are delivering adverts customised to your interests
  • Here’s another opt in page from the Digital Advertising Alliance
  • This page shows you what Google has assumed about you based on your browsing (need to be logged into Google account to see fully).  The control panel also gives you the opportunity to update the data that Google holds on you as well as opt out of tailored ads.
  • And here’s the Yahoo equivalent interest manager page.
  • This Chrome extension lets you see what a number of ad networks have assumed about you
  • Noddle the ‘free for life’ credit report (part of Callcredit Information Group) have an ad-on service (Web Watch) that monitors the web for indications that your personal details could be being traded without your knowledge/permission.

What benefits can be offered to consumers for identifying themselves – ongoing and tactical?  Recent research showed that customers most like travel benefits, followed by retail perks, entertainment and hotel related rewards.  But crucial to making such programmes work is access to spend data down to category/SKU level, eg from EPOS or ecommerce platforms.

Maybe the rise of sousveillance or ‘inverse surveillance’ made possible now with Google Glass will help offset anxieties about what was seen in the now famous Prism PowerPoint presentation?

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