- Telefónica, the Spanish phone company with 110.8 million mobile customers worldwide, has enlisted People.io to help German customers control their privacy settings with a mobile application called O2 Get. The app will be offered to Telefonica’s 44 million mobile users in Germany, where privacy laws are stricter than in the United States, Advertising Age reported.
- Telefónica's app, which provides minimal privacy protections, offers incentives to reveal more personal information. Its pays people to answer surveys, agree to location tracking or to interact with ads. Mobile users are paid with credits that can be redeemed for gift cards at Amazon, Starbucks and iTunes.
- The O2 Get user can only control data provided within the app, while Telefónica will continue keeping other kinds of data outside the app.
Telefónica’s privacy app provides a foretaste of what might be to come in Europe, where privacy laws are stricter than in the United States and people are given greater ownership of their personal information. That distinction is critical for mobile marketers that want to avoid wasting ad dollars on the wrong target market. As Telefónica demonstrates, marketers will need to provide incentives for consumers to divulge more personal information.
The news is also an example of how personal online data is becoming its own currency as digital marketing continues to grow.
The European Union’s privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, will take effect in May 2018 and could expose companies to massive fines for mishandling customer information. More than half of companies may violate the law, according to an estimate published last week by Gartner Group.
Businesses that aren’t prepared to provide “the right to be forgotten,” to handle data breaches and to respond to customers that seek to control their data need to start planning ahead. The new law will require organizations to be accountable and provide greater transparency about decisions that affect the way personal data are used.