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Successful Data Model Respects Users’ Privacy

By Jorge Lara - WhereIsMyTransport Mexico
Country Manager


By Jorge Lara | Country Manager - Tue, 02/14/2023 - 10:00

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This year, the trend where there will be a lot of visibility is to talk about data privacy in applications and web data. Whether you’re aware of it or not, we are giving away information almost every time we go on the internet, especially when using our mobile devices to surf between apps, check our email, and visit online stores, among others. All these actions are part of our daily lives and are 100% incorporated into our day-to-day routine, so much so that we lose sight  of how, as we spend more time on these digital platforms, we could be exposing our privacy. 

According to the National Survey on the Availability and Use of Information Technology in Households (ENDUTIH), from 2021, in Mexico there are just over 91.7 million cellphone users and, according to a study by Claver Tap, on average, each person has 40 apps installed; however, millennials have up to 67 apps. Despite the  recent awareness about granting permissions, the user does not have in-depth knowledge of the true meaning of the permissions they are giving, which data they are ceding or how it is used.

In the current digital environment that has prioritized the data model, user targeting and advertising, from the user's point of view it is of vital importance to know what and why we are giving up when downloading an app or visiting a website. Most users approve cookies and privacy policies without even knowing that they are consenting, quickly accepting the conditions without reading them beforehand or without the knowledge about the uses of their personal data or the rights they have.

However, from the point of view of companies, what can we do to ensure  the responsible use of data and promote a successful business model without affecting or taking advantage of the user?

WhereIsMyTransport focuses on, manages and uses data from  public transport systems, infrastructures and environments without the need to get involved with user data. While in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, the company started with the aim of finding decentralized public transport routes and displaying them through third parties, in Mexico, Peru and Thailand, Rumbo was developed as a direct provider of this information with the same philosophy of not invading users’ privacy.

When large companies have high turnover models based on the use and cession to third parties of sensitive data, it seems to be a horizon to follow for its profitability and scalability; however, in this process of accelerating revenue, the malicious use of data has become a major risk, not only for users but also for companies.

It is important to generate technological models that are not based on rapacious advertising, granting access to sensitive information to advertisers or allowing algorithmically controlled ads to be profitable. Collaboration among private companies through environmental data, global behavior or systems, as in our case, of public transportation, allows sustainable models that protect the user and are beneficial for everyone involved: apps, advertisers, systems and, of course, users searching for virtuous circles of collaboration. 

The recent adoption of comprehensive data privacy laws indicates an increased concern for consumer privacy among various institutions. As technology advances and internet-connected devices are increasingly used in everyday tasks and transactions, data becomes more detailed and, therefore, more valuable to those who can benefit from it. On the other hand, it also becomes crucial for the private sector to be in line with the new regulations and requirements in security and privacy as well as to communicate them to the user to  promote and protect our audiences as much as possible.

In the consumption of digital services, app users must be clear about their rights and obligations to empower their digital security through best practices. To become aware, we must take into account the following points: 

  • All developers must complete a clear and accurate data security section for each application, detailing the use, collection and sharing of user data.

  • The user wants the app to meet their expectations, the first instants are critical in this regard.

  • Strongly reject  any type of content or advertising that may be misleading or false.

  • Maturity in concepts closely related to usability. The user is increasingly accustomed to navigating and interacting with online platforms and feels more self-confident. 

Overall, the competing trends of increasingly advanced data collection technology and enhanced consumer privacy measures and policies are likely to define the future of consumer privacy. In fact, by the end of this year, 65% of the world’s population will have modern privacy regulations protecting personal data, according to Gartner. With these regulations in place, corporations are likely to find new methods of data collection and consumers are likely to react with an increased expectation of transparency. 

Photo by:   Jorge Lara

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