Know your public

  • Google’s new privacy statement condenses tens of privacy policies into just one single agreement that Google users will accept when using the service. The new rules will allow Google to gather information on online behaviour better than ever before; potentially including mail, calendar, Android phone logs, and search histories.
  • Whilst the new policy has raised data protection concerns, the information has the potential to offer major benefits for industry and Government.
  • In Government, it may be possible to make use of this type of information to shape energy campaigns, flood preparedness campaigns, or other awareness-raising initiatives. In an age where public and industry behaviour change is key to sustainability, targeted marking could lead to greater return on investment.
  • Marketing analytics have long been employed in supermarket chains (recently, to predict which customers are pregnant to market baby products pre-term), and online (e.g. via Facebook which gathers data on gender, home town, level of education, and interests for advertising).

Online statistics are likely to form an important part of future Government outreach campaigns. Consumers will be increasingly targeted by others and Government may need to work with industry to compete for a strong online presence, using services such as Google to drive campaigns. Though the benefits of improved consumer knowledge are great, the risk of public concern and possibly outrage over privacy issues cannot be ignored.

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About Hayley Shaw

Knowledge Exchange Manager at Cranfield University's Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures (CERF). Sharing the latest news from Cranfield, and insights from across the industry. All things risk, environment, and the future.
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