Researchers at Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research have released a study on consumer reactions to the common practice in the hospitality industry to collect, aggregate, and use customer’s personal data. From the abstract:
Data-Driven Ethics: Exploring Customer Privacy in the Information Era
An examination of issues related to the collection and use of personal information by hotel companies finds that many consumers would like to retain control of their personal information. In particular, they are concerned about what companies learn about their proclivities in the course of monitoring their commercial transactions. While the chief concerns vary from country to country, many respondents to a survey were unhappy that personal data could be stored long-term, citing the possibility of identity theft. Adopting a systems orientation and considering three ethical principles would go far to reassure customers that their data are secure. Those principles are minimize harm, offer respect, and operate consistently. The growth of data mining and data sharing, as well as current concerns over personal data privacy, means that these issues should be considered by managers, CIOs, marketing personnel, IT professionals, and consumers.
It will make interesting Sunday afternoon reading – but here’s the irony:
In order to download the report, you need to register with CHR, where they ask your your name, job title, company, and e-mail address. The icing on our cake o’ irony is that you must opt-out of CHR’s default policy of sharing your e-mail address with “carefully screened third parties.”
Perhaps CHR needs to explore customer privacy in the information era a bit more…