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Few of us would be willing to build a relationship with someone whose first interaction with us involved walking into our home, sifting through our personal property, and taking notes on our most private thoughts without our full knowledge and permission. And yet, we all permit this activity to occur every day – albeit with companies rather than with individuals.

It’s easy to recognize the value we receive from sharing our information with companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and every other business we frequent and appreciate. But few are cognizant of the unintended consequences and potential costs we are incurring as a result. As this article from the Guardian demonstrates, Google knows everywhere you’ve been and when, knows everything you’ve ever searched, has a record of all your YouTube history, has every email you’ve ever written, and knows every app you use. The data this company has collected and maintains about each of us is so vast, that in some cases, an individual’s records can fill the equivalent of millions of Word documents. Facebook has all of your photos, every location from which you’ve logged-in or left the app running in the background, access to both your camera and your microphone, and data scraped from every website and app you’ve ever linked your profile too, like Tinder.

With the advent and rising popularity of wearables and interactive technology, the data is becoming increasingly more personal and its collection incessant. It’s no longer simply our online profiles. We’ve invited Amazon to listen in on the private conversations in our homes with Alexa and Amazon Echo. Remember, those microphones are two-way. Smartwatches and other wearables are allowing companies like Google and Apple to collect and monetize our health and location in real time.

For many, the quantity and nature of the data collected and stored by these large organizations is shocking. We expect every significant relationship in our life to involve some degree of transparency. According to one recent study, 94% of consumers said it is important that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent. And, they should be. But the reality is that, when it comes to data collection, we have been operating under the guise of transparency rather than the real thing.

Sure, companies provide us with disclosure statements regarding their privacy policies, but these disclosures are so long and full of legalese that reading them is prohibitively difficult and time consuming. According to one study, it would take the average internet user 25 days each year to read every privacy policy on every website he visits in a year. And that’s if you read non-stop. If reading privacy policies every day was your job, and you worked the typical eight-hour, 9-5 workday, it would take you 76 full work days to read it all.

The good news is that there is a push among both consumers and businesses to be more transparent about data collection. However, some companies are taking that sentiment a step further. At Anagog, we are working to not only increase transparency, but to make the collection and storage of private and personal information obsolete.

The Existing Paradigm

Our mission at Anagog is to solve the privacy issue without affecting the customer experience. We leverage Edge AI, a new branch of artificial intelligence, to place machine learning algorithms directly onto mobile devices. As a result, we help ensure that individuals benefit from all the features of their phone’s applications without losing control over their privacy. We also help businesses better understand the behavior and real desires of their customers without requiring the collection of personal data. Our solutions are uniquely designed to not only provide businesses with increased insight into their users’ offline behavior but to also increase the control these users have over their information and empower them with ability to truly protect their private information.

With our solutions, businesses no longer need to scrape as much data about an individual as possible to generate value. And as a result, there’s no incentive to shield their activities from their customers. We allow businesses to give their customers control over what information, if any, is disclosed. Our solutions allow individuals to remain completely anonymous if they choose or to disclose more personal information if they prefer. We empower businesses with the ability to demonstrate to customers exactly what information has been used and how it has been used.

Transparency is a critical component of every relationship, and certainly one we should be striving to emulate in business. But there’s a step beyond being more honest, which is behaving more ethically. It’s one thing to more clearly tell people how you’re operating, it’s another to improve your operating practices altogether to establish real, long-term and valuable relationships. At Anagog, our primary focus is on the latter: the cause rather than the symptom.

If we want to maintain any semblance of privacy and control over our information in the future, it is imperative that we actively work to change the conversation. We not only need to increase awareness of what data is being collected and how it is being used, but we need to focus our energies on developing new methods that relegate the collection of this information to the past.

To learn more about how Anagog’s solutions can increase transparency and eliminate the need to collect private information, visit our website at www.anagog.com.

 

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