How far can e-commerce sites go when it comes to consumer privacy? It seems quite far, especially when it comes to giants such as Google or Facebook. As CNN Money portrays, Google will soon know if a consumer reacted to an online ad with an in-store purchase.
Basically, the new Google app can tell if a consumer clicked on an ad and then used a debit or credit card to buy an advertised item at a store. Google now works with card companies and matches online identities with in-store transactions.
Google seeks to protect personal privacy, or so they say. Google doesn’t see encrypted data with payment information, or a person’s name and a specific purchase. Instead, the matches are made on an aggregate basis. So, Google can better tell advertisers how their ads turned into sales.
There is an option to opt out by logging out of Google Account before searching. But, Google never asks if consumers want to opt in. It appears this is designed to benefit the e-commerce giant with increased revenues without any apparent benefits for the consumers.
In the past, and even now, Google has been criticized for arbitrarily banning digital publishers from Google Ads without disclosing a reason, while confiscating earned advertising revenue. To clarify, let’s say a site runs Google Ads, accumulates $800 in ad revenue, and Google comes in and bans the site from ability to run ads, all while confiscating accumulated revenue and without explaining why.
Now it looks Google will get access to highly personal data. The question is: Hasn’t Google been given way too much leeway?