Data privacy, on the other hand, is the protection of personal information from unauthorised access or use. The ethics of targeted advertising and data privacy are closely related because all the information which are submitted by the users to the advertiser in the digital platform can            be tracked and get returned as a form of targeted ad. Targeted advertising relies on collecting and analysing personal data like gender, religion, age, and political beliefs using machine learning. This kind of use of personal data raises concerns about privacy and security, as well as the potential for misuse or abuse of the data.

Let’s explore the benefits of targeted marketing

Targeted marketing is beneficial for customers in different ways. It helps organisations to reach their potential and target customers more effectively, which can lead to generating more sales and revenue. For consumers, targeted advertising brings more personalised and relevant online experiences, which makes the process of searching for necessary  and quality products easier.

According to a report from Visual Objects targeted advertising helped 14% of customers to find a new brand and 12% of customers to find local businesses. This highlights how beneficial targeted advertising is for attracting high quality leads, making the brand stand out from its competitors and improving communication.

Breaching of data privacy for targeted advertisements

Ethical issues are closely associated with targeted advertising. One of the main concerns is the potential breaching of personal data The ForgeRock Breach report (2022) revealed that compromising of personal data containing usernames and passwords increased by 35% in 2021 and 50% of all these breaches were due to unauthorised access. Data privacy breaching is extremely detrimental because it causes damage to a business’s reputation that they trade on and loss of public trust.

Negative implications of targeted advertisements

Apart from potential threats of data privacy, breaching targeted advertising has some negative implications. For example, personal data can be used to discriminate against certain groups of people and targeted advertising can lead to the creation of filter bubbles, where people  are provided information which only conforms with their personal beliefs. As a result information regarding a diverse range of products and services remains inaccessible to customers which is a barrier for customers to develop original thoughts, opinions, and ideas.

How organisations can protect data

To address these concerns, organisations need to maintain transparency regarding the collection of data and its usage. All customers should be provided with the ability to see their own personal data and the ability to opt out at any time.

Furthermore, it is important for businesses to implement robust security measures to protect personal data from unauthorised access or use which includes encrypting and backing up data, making sure that hard drives of old computers are unreadable and that businesses use firewalls.

To address the ongoing issues and concerns of targeted advertising and data privacy, businesses must be transparent, implement strong security measures to protect personal data, and they should inform all consumers before sharing any data with third party vendors.                        

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