25 Jan 2024
Companies utilize cookies, small pieces of data stored on a user’s device by a web browser, to gather information on marketing strategies, including personalized pricing based on consumer behavior, search interests, and location. While some online users do not mind giving out private information, some consider cookies a breach of privacy. Doreen Pick, Professor of Marketing and International Business from Merseburg University of Applied Sciences, gave a talk on the topic “Are Digital Cookies Bytes of Bliss or Bytes of Betrayal?” urging companies to engage in Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR) and be transparent on how they extract personal data from consumers. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law went into effect on May 25, 2018, indicating that all companies doing business have to follow the regulation. Article 12 of GDPR identified that anyone who processes personal data should inform the data subject about the facts and present the information in a concise, transparent, intelligible, and easily accessible form. Professor Pick said that in contrast to Europe, some countries lack specific regulations for cookies, leading to varied unethical approaches by online platforms. These are some reasons some countries still lack cookies regulation:
- Some companies may perceive cookie regulations as unnecessary or disadvantageous.
- Governments may not see the benefits of strict regulations, considering potential negative effects on the economy.
- Privacy regulation may be less strict due to consumer apathy or a willingness to trade privacy for convenience or incentives.
- Consumers have no or less interest in their online privacy.
- Consumers have an interest in digital privacy, but they weigh up the costs (times and benefits), convenience individual offers, and financial incentives for data sharing in loyalty programs.
- Consumers believe that they have nothing to hide.