Trust sells: If online users don’t stand up for their own privacy, companies should

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In today’s digital world, handing over your personal data feels like a necessary evil. It’s nearly impossible to book dinner, create a new account, send flowers, or even pay a bill without entering a phone number, signing up for a newsletter, or accepting a website’s cookies .

As our daily lives become more virtual, the demand to offer personal information in exchange for daily necessities or conveniences becomes inevitable. As a result, users are shouting from the rooftops about the importance of privacy and data protection. But users need help.

To do this, we must think of privacy as the empty state, the default. It’s not something to win, it’s something to lose. Think of it this way: When you meet a new friend, you gradually pass on information about yourself as you build a relationship with that person. Based on varying degrees of familiarity and trust, you choose what to share about yourself over time, tearing apart the onion of your own identity one conversation or fun fact at a time.

Peeling off layers of digital identity

Our digital privacy is much the same. Every action, transaction, search and bookmark removes the layers of our digital identity, one tap at a time. What’s different, though, is that decision piece — we’re not always in control of who or what we share this information with. At the moment we are largely at the mercy of the applications with which we want to communicate.

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Even when users have the ability to protect their privacy, they often still put themselves at risk. The privacy paradox – a norm among users – is defined as the dichotomy between a person’s intentions to protect their privacy online as opposed to how they actually behave online, which ultimately endangers their privacy. How ironically consistent with our human desire to have the cake and eat it too. But if users don’t care about their own digital privacy, who will? The companies that depend on our data. And now more than ever, there is an incentive for them to act.

The proof is already there: trust sells. Organizations that put privacy and trust first are rewarded by users. That’s why 90% of companies say they see privacy as a business necessity, with 71% seeing loyalty and trust as their top priority. So, how can businesses make money by building trust with users online today?

Transparency in data usage

Users want transparency about how their information is used. It’s that simple. When organizations go the extra mile to include privacy statements or a promise not to share information with third parties, it reassures the user. Companies can also raise mandatory data regulations on their websites to be candid about their compliance with such laws. It is this simple reinforcement that can make the user feel more comfortable spending time on a website and in turn become a paying member of the community.

Consent to use data

In real life – away from the internet – a company would never track you and take notes on everything you do without your permission. So why are they doing it to users online? At a basic level, users want to be respected, and the easiest way to do that is to ask for permission.

It is important to do this sincerely. Consider cookies as an example: Ever since it became mandatory to obtain user consent before placing a cookie on their browser, developers have designed consent forms to make the “I accept” button more attractive and give users a boost. to agree. Businesses must clearly and honestly ask for consent to use cookies or collect personal data in order to strengthen user trust.

Data protection

Organizations need to establish best practices and best-in-class solutions for identity management and data protection. Whether using third-party tools such as two-step verification for access control, data encryption, or a turnkey end-to-end encryption service, businesses need to adopt a modern architecture designed to protect data everywhere. stages of the data life cycle.

The internet is here to stay, and the demand for intimate information will only increase as we move deeper into a digital world. We know that users will not act in their best interests when it comes to privacy, yet there is a demand for privacy. That’s why companies tackling consumer pressures can prioritize privacy as a competitive advantage, helping them bring in users and keep them forever.

Vuk Janosevic is the co-founder and CEO of Blindnet.

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