Let’s Talk Privacy

Adhering to Standards in a Changing Digital World

What you should know to ensure your marketing follows an evolving set of privacy protection laws. 

You hear the word privacy thrown around all the time, whether it be from pop ups displaying a website’s privacy policy to the latest breach getting discussed on the news. It’s a hot button topic for a good reason, too. Since the 2004 passing of the California Online Privacy Protection Act requiring websites to make privacy policies available to their consumers, how our data gets used has caused a lot of discussion. 

As a business, it’s important to understand how different privacy laws affect the way you execute your marketing strategy. We’re going to go over some of the basics of privacy in the push notification marketing world and some new laws you can expect to see coming soon.

A brief history of internet privacy

Just like any technology, people have been trying to exploit the internet since its invention. In some ways we caught on to the risk pretty quickly, nipping some major issues in the bud. The two earliest examples being how the government can use computerized data through the US Privacy Act and the protection of healthcare information through HIPAA. 

As time goes on the privacy conversation starts to revolve around how companies use the data we give them, especially when we don’t know what it’s getting used for. One example that might ring a bell is the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal of 2018. If you aren’t familiar, UK based data analysis company Cambridge Analytica was found to have purchased and wrongfully used information from over 50 million Facebook profiles to develop software intended to shape American elections. Facebook was found guilty in the mishandling of user data and fined an astonishing 5 billion dollars. 

This event helped spark a greater conversation around the importance of virtual privacy, and brought into light some of the exploitative ways our information is being used against us. Since then, we’ve seen an uptick in privacy legislation with the goal of protecting our data and keeping us safe. For marketers and businesses however, this means that we need to be extra careful in how we communicate with our customers, use their data, and adhere to privacy standards.

Opting out is totally in

One of the regulations designed to protect user privacy is the CAN-SPAM act. The CAN-SPAM act regulates what kind of messaging marketers can send out to users and what they must include. This includes the prohibition of deceptive language and the requirement of a clear way to opt-out of further messaging. 

This is especially important to us push notification marketers, as it means every text message we send out must give users a choice to opt out at the bottom. You’ve probably received a dozen texts ending with the phrase “press STOP to unsubscribe” just this month. 

C is for enable cookies

You know that annoying banner you get every time you load a new website asking if you want to “enable cookies”? It’s about to be a thing of the past with Google’s new ban on this third party data collection method. First, let’s talk about what cookies are.

Put simply, cookies are little files that websites create to store with your information. There are two kinds of cookies; first party and third party. First party are the files created by the website you are visiting itself. They contain important stuff like your login so that they can quickly load your info the next time you visit. Third party cookies are independent of the website that you chose to visit, most often stored in ads. These cookies follow you from website to website whether or not you actually click on the ad itself. They harvest your data with the consent you provided by selecting “allow cookies”. 

Now that we’ve got that definition down, let’s talk about what Google’s doing about third party cookies. Google started discussing the phase-out of third party cookies in 2020, but won’t be implementing it officially until 2023. This will make data tracking and ad targeting significantly harder for companies, but will help protect vulnerable users that don’t realize their information is being used this way. 

Consequences for non-compliance 

The government takes these laws very seriously, and violating them can mean bad news for your business. We’re talking fines starting at $2,500 for accidental violations. Yeah, that’s a big number. Luckily, there are easier ways to avoid these violations than by memorizing privacy laws line by line. 

Our top priority when it comes to our users is ensuring they have a safe and enjoyable experience when they use our app, and privacy is at the forefront of this. We know that local businesses are what makes Nodat so great, so we want to make the process for sending out thoughtful and productive messaging as easy as possible. We obtain consent to send push notifications to users for you, meaning you don’t have to worry about managing lists and tracking who has unsubscribed. We show you in plain view who is and isn’t signed up to receive your messages, and give you the power to manage your subscription lists so you’re only sending information to the people who want to see it. 

Check it out for yourself here, and get a 14 day trial on us. 

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