business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that Walmart "on Wednesday revealed the breadth of customer information it collects as it came out in favor of consumers having 'reasonable controls' with regard to collection, use and sharing of personal data.

"The world's largest retailer said shoppers should have an opportunity to 'reasonably access, correct or delete their data while limiting the sale of their data to third parties and its use in digital advertising,' as it testified at a hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation … Walmart said in its testimony it supports a comprehensive federal privacy law and is ready to comply with strict new privacy rules California plans to instate on Jan. 1."

According to the story, "Walmart said it collects myriad different forms of customer data including personal information provided directly by consumers, personal information provided by third parties, purchase history, healthcare data, browsing information, device information and location data. The company said it sells or rents individually identifiable customer data to third parties for business activities including fulfilling customer orders and processing payments. Also, some of Walmart's recent acquisitions share customer information with other companies, it said."
KC's View:
I am - and have long been - a big believer that retailers need to be transparent about the information they collect, share, and/or sell … and that they ought to allow consumers to control as much of that information as possible. Same goes for internet companies, by the way.

I believe consumers increasingly will demand it. I believe that governments increasingly will require it. And I think it is the right thing to do … and worth whatever investment it requires, because it will engender trust, which is an invaluable and tangible factor in any business-consumer relationship.