Recently, we switched from Google Analytics to Simple Analytics. We have our reasons, and here's our take on user privacy.
Data is everywhere.
Every time you click like on a Facebook post, the action converts to data. When you visit a website, click on a specific page or link, it becomes a data point.
Data isn’t always online. When you go to a holiday fair around your neighborhood, you register your name and address, that becomes data.
Oftentimes, when we hear that our data is being collected or we are being monitored through our actions on social media, we get somewhat frightened, sometimes angry.
Perhaps it’s not the fact that someone is collecting our data that scares or angers us. It’s our fear of what they’d do with it. We are scared of its endless possibility for manipulation, and most of all, we are scared of losing control over our choices as humans.
Data is a double-edged sword.
Data can’t physically kill us. But how it is used can manipulate us into making choices that kill our souls. And if humans no longer have souls, then aren’t we as good as dead anyway?
The US Elections in 2016 and the discovery of Cambridge Analytica 2 years later awoke people to the deadly impact of data. According to The New York Times, Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, had access to the data of 50 million users on Facebook. This includes what they liked, their network of friends, and their identities. Their idea was to map personality traits based on what people liked on Facebook, and with that information, create targeted digital ads to convince them of a specific party to vote for.
When the dark side of data revealed, people became more conscious of their presence online. But data isn’t always bad. There’s a good reason why they were collected in the first place.
The upside of data is that it’s a fuel for algorithms that could do great things for the world, like identifying diseases, reducing traffic accidents, perhaps even potentiality of war. However, that is based on the assumption that the people who own the data are conscious of their actions and make decisions that are good for all. That takes courage.
A startup based in Toronto, Blue Dot, uses big data to predict the spread of an infectious disease. In fact, they were among the few people who identified the COVID-19 outbreak while it was happening in Hubei Province, China. Alibaba, an e-commerce giant in China, developed an AI system fueled by data from COVID-19 patients’ CT scans to detect new cases around the country.
These are only a few examples of many in which data helped solve a world issue.
Where do we go from here?
We can’t say for the rest of the world, but here’s our belief:
Yes, users should be cautious of what kind of data they give away, but most important of all, we ourselves must be conscious developers and marketers. We must have the courage to decide to use data in a good way, and it is a choice that we must learn to make again and again.
Why we switched our analytics tool.
As technology becomes more advanced, privacy becomes more expensive. It is a privilege to simply own your thoughts when the world is a constant buzz of information and algorithms that decide what you want.
Last year, we stuck to our principle of protecting the security of our users by eliminating passwords, and as of today, we decided to switch to Simple Analytics because the privacy of our users is important. Bloo had been using Google Analytics to collect user data from our Web Software and Marketing Website. While it has given us great insights into traffics and interactions, we realized that we get much more information than we need, and the privacy of our users is being sacrificed along the way.
The only data we get from you as users are the number of visitors per day, referral points (where the users visit our website from), top pages being visited, the devices and browsers being viewed on, and the countries where the visitors are from.
What does this mean for users?
Your experience with Bloo will stay the same. You might expect certain changes to the web pages most visited, more ads on Facebook and Google, and perhaps occasional blog posts that you find interesting. Those are decided by the datasets we receive.
Otherwise, rest assured that our team will always embrace good ethics and decision-making when it comes to using data.
Work Better, Together.
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