Last weekend the Times approached the topic of cookies, behavioural data and privacy in the retail sector in a very straightforward way: big brother is (or at least might be) watching; is this a good thing?
The implicit message was guarded, but arguably directed the reader towards one answer - "No".
The article should be of interest to any organisation but not for legal reasons. The article expressly made the point that cookies were being placed in accordance with the new cookies law that came into effect in May year, so legality was not the issue.
Instead, the article focussed on the scale of cookies being placed and the relatively short period of time in which they were accumulated. The title summed their slant up neatly (as you would expect) - "One click unleashes a spying free for all".
From this perspective, the article is further evidence of a growing media and general public interest in the extent to which personal data is being captured and used by organisations.
An organisation ignores this trend at its peril. Privacy compliance is not just about the law, it is about managing user perceptions of an organisation's activities, and ultimately whether an organisation is seen in a favourable or unfavourable light especially over time as use and awareness of technology develops.
Privacy compliance is therefore as much a matter for marketing and PR departments as it is for lawyers.
The Times article can be reached here. (Subscription required)