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Who is Watching Our Backs With Unprecedented Growth in Online Consumption?

Opinion

Who is Watching Our Backs With Unprecedented Growth in Online Consumption?

Websites are in dire need of transparency, especially now when our digital lifeline seems to have taken center stage and is here to stay

Or Lenchner | 18:16  24.05.2020

We all live and breathe online, in a constant chase after the most attractive deal or the most alluring, innovative product. But is the internet view you and I see available to both consumers and businesses? Is the public data we are exposed to actually public for all? The answer is no.

Web transparency, as much as it is critical to business conduct, is not that easy to reach, especially not if you’re a business eager to collect comparative or competitive data. The transparency that we as consumers enjoy is not the same “transparency” that businesses enjoy. In fact, I would definitely not call it transparency. At the end of the day, we want businesses to be able to collect public data.

Online privacy violation (illustration). Photo: Shutterstock Online privacy violation (illustration). Photo: Shutterstock Online privacy violation (illustration). Photo: Shutterstock

In the old, pre-digital days, if supermarket A was interested in checking on the pricing system of supermarket B, they would send in a so-called mystery shopper who would physically collect the needed data. Nowadays, with e-commerce, it is a little more complex.

Here’s why: our IP address is our individual fingerprint in the virtual world. It plays a role as our special ID. Businesses and consumers are easily identified according to their respective IP addresses. So, if a competitive website is interested in checking on the special deals of another website, they would likely get blocked.

Websites are in dire need of transparency, especially now when our digital lifeline seems to have taken center stage and is here to stay. In order to maintain an openly competitive landscape, unrestricted web-access is vital, as is abiding by data privacy regulation such as GDPR.

Data is one of the most precious components an organization can hold. The data collection industry domain is relatively new with as-of-yet undefined ethical boundaries and regulations, which risk the data safety of each and every one of us.

So, how do businesses guarantee a steady stream of data that is essential to their business conduct and strategy while ensuring that they operate in a completely ethical ecosystem? How do businesses reach the openly available data while seeing the web reality that you and I see daily?

The answer is simple: by using the average consumer’s IP address. Such IPs have been willingly and actively contributed by millions of consumers worldwide in return for defined benefits.

Still, getting to the right kind of data means you need to maintain an ethical-by-design process at every step of your data-collection operation. Every business, no matter its size, must respect the data from its very initial collection stages. Otherwise, they put us all at risk and possibly themselves, as well.

Businesses need a completely transparent web view—this fact is obvious. Just imagine what the world would look like with no access to data and no competition. We as consumers would all suffer!

Yes, competition drives the market forward. It has generated innovation and better products. It also ensures fair handling, but, and this is a big but, we must all follow a very clear ethical path. If not, we will all lose, probably faster than one can expect.

The author is the CEO of Luminati.io

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