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Consequences of Protecting Customer Privacy

Consequences of Protecting Customer Privacy

Everyone wants to be able to trust their family, their friends, their colleagues, and their neighbors. Trust is important. It’s not a surprise that trust plays a large factor in company success and customer satisfaction. Customers want to be able to trust that the information they have on their phone, or put onto a website, or save onto their cloud is safe. So companies work hard to keep the trust of their customers by protecting their privacy, but in recent news, companies are being pressed for customer information, and seeing the consequences of trying to keep client trust.

Last month, Facebook Vice President for Latin America, Diego Dzodan, was arrested in Brazil because Facebook refused to release data from users’ WhatApps messaging app. A judge ordered the arrest because investigators are looking into secret drug trafficking and want information from the messaging app. The judge claims that by not releasing the information to investigators, Facebook could compromise a criminal investigation.Dzodan was released shortly after his arrest simply because he didn’t have access to the information himself, but the Brazilian court’s actions seem to bring up an important issue: How far and long can customer privacy guarantees hold?

Should Companies Be Worried About Protecting Customer Privacy?

Brazil’s court attack on a Facebook employee may be an uncommon situation, but it brings up the concern of protecting customer privacy for a company. What does a company risk by releasing information? In 2009, students at the University of California Berkeley studied issues surrounding customer privacy. The study found that “users were mostly concerned with a lack of control over data” and that “consumers’ complaints focus on lack of control over personal information.” So privacy is a concern for customers, especially when it’s regarding their personal information. So if companies want to keep customers, they have to work to protect their data and information.

Privacy Consequences for Customers

If Brazil’s request of Facebook and its WhatsApp is any indication of what might happen in the future, consumers should be concerned. Brazil claimed it had the right to consumer personal information because it was needed for a criminal investigation. Will companies soon be required to hand over personal information when required for security reasons? If so, consumers should consider what information they want to put online, save on the cloud, or store on their phone. Despite companies’ fight to protect their customers and retain consumer trust, online information is out there–and whether it gets picked up by a Brazilian court or by cyber hackers, it’s vulnerable. Consumers need to be aware of these vulnerabilities and companies need to be aware of the consequences of trying to safeguard consumer privacy.

Source: NBC News

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