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All the effort companies put into implementing cookies is well worth it. consent Notifications are becoming more frequent and larger due to recent privacy lawsuits. Notably, these notices don’t do much to protect businesses or customers. 

Transparency, without any doubt. is a good thing, and we’re starting to see more common-sense guidance emerge, but companies are still vulnerable to a host of issues that are often beyond their direct control. 

Recent lawsuits concerning the Meta pixelThese issues are also impacting many U.S.-based healthcare organizations and are an excellent example.  

Problem is Website construction is a process that incorporates these elements. Except for a handful of large tech companies, all websites are built using third-party cloud service providers. These include crucial software such as analytics and form builders, along with trackers for advertisers. Problem is This is because these third parties enjoy a lot more autonomy than they have oversight.

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Meta pixels, as an example, can be used to report data back. These data can be relatively innocuous and used by marketers to target customers with ads, or to monitor the success of advertising campaigns. Trackers also gather very precise and personal information and integrate it into data sets.

Financial and healthcare data that has been misused

Problem is, when you’re visiting a healthcare website, the stakes are much higher. You don’t want to share a medical condition that you’re researching with Facebook. And you definitely don’t want this data to be added to your social graph. Let’s get right to the point: Protected Health Information, or PHI. is HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The actions described herein are not covered. This also reveals how problematic tracking can be when digital advertising is viewed through the healthcare lens.  

Financial services are also subject to the same rules. The same applies to financial services. Unauthorized access or collection of personal identifiable information (PII), as well as financial information, can have serious consequences. These are parts of our lives that we want to keep private for good reason; they don’t mix well with modern digital advertising practices.  

Recent lawsuits have helped us understand more about the problems and their scope, beyond what was described in the Meta pixel. 

Looking through sensitive data’s lens

A lawsuit was brought against Oracle claiming that the 4.5 billion records they hold — for reference, the global population is 8 billion — can be used as a proxy for tracking sensitive data that consumers have deliberately opted out of sharing. The idea of re-identification de-identified data is a great one. is This is old news, however it provides an excellent example of why these are important. “random” It is important to collect bits of information. These are just a few of the many data points that can be gathered. enough data, Oracle, or whoever ends up with access to the information, can infer most of the details of a person’s life with amazing accuracy, and it’s a certainty that this is It is not clear how data will be used.

Web testing tools are used to record user sessions and show how they navigate the website. This is a very common tool used by marketers and web developers to improve user interfaces.

To cut to the headline, some of the companies using these tools are getting sued under wiretapping laws because these tools can transmit a lot more data than the website owner intended without the user’s knowledge. Who would’ve thunk? But when you look at all this through the lens of sensitive data, it becomes very clear that there’s a big problem.

These cookies are easy to navigate for most people. consent Pop ups and Hit “Accept all,” the companies serving these consents aren’t protected in a meaningful way, nor are their customers.  Moreover, there are many ways to track users online that don’t involve cookies at all, and these are the issues that are at the heart of the recent lawsuits.

The solution isn’t just about refining cookie consent. Problem is Technical. Companies need the ability to see, monitor and control the parts of the website interaction that they currently don’t control: The browser. It is essential that they do this. is The new point.

The overwhelming majority of companies want to do the right thing, but they can’t manage what they can’t see. Just because they are unaware doesn’t mean they won’t be held accountable by new legislation and regulations, lawsuits or the public. Example: A Fortune 1000 website typically has more than 120 third-party websites. If you can show people the full scope of the problem, it shows they are interested.  

Ian Cohen is Chief Executive Officer and founder LOKKER.

Brian Ebert is A LOKKER advisor board member and an ex-Chief Of Staff at U.S. Secret Service.

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