We all complain about our personal data being used by companies – ‘ Big Brother ‘ can encroach on our lives in many ways. In some cases it seems as though it is an invasion of privacy.
But look at it from another angle. You go into a shop to buy a piece of clothing or a computer, the sales person will ask you all sorts of questions to establish exactly what your requirements are, to know how best to help you.
No problem you say – however companies use this same type of information in order to fine-tune their products to suit user needs.
A prime example happened in 2012 when travel site Orbitz showed Apple Mac users hotels that were more expensive than the one’s shown to PC users. Naturally there were complaints as people wrongly thought that the same hotels were being offered at conflicting prices.
However what was actually happening, through research and the fact that web servers detect visitor’s operating systems, was that Mac users in general were more affluent and preferred more premium goods than the average PC owner.
Subsequently we then see companies that sell their data on to the highest bidder. Is this an invasion of privacy or just good business? In order to answer this question it would be necessary to put yourself in the position of a company that wants to make money.
Sadly this can lead to the same product or service costing more in ‘ better off ‘ areas, whereas living in a more affluent area does not necessarily mean more disposable income.
Whether it is acceptable for companies to tell us what we can or cannot afford – you the consumer must decide – but like it or not – Big Brother is here to stay.