Big Deal or Big Brother? You be the judge.

Like it or not, nearly everything we do on the Internet is monitored, tracked, and recorded. Our browser history yields a trove of insights about our interests and online purchases.

Advertisers leverage that information to ascertain buying habits that allow them to more narrowly segment and target us, the consumers. Social Media Researcher, Donna Boyd, says it best: “We’re moving to an era of public by default, private by effort.”

So how do consumers feel about these surveillance initiatives? IDG Research Services recently fielded a study to determine respondents’ personal sentiments towards data targeting and the impact on the customer-marketer relationship. The findings were surprising. Click on the hotlink above to see for yourself.

Between the fallout over the NSA surveillance scandal and massive data breaches such as the one that compromised 70 million Target customers, it’s reasonable to assume backlash towards the superfluous collection of personal information for targeted advertisement. However, the study revealed passive acceptance of the marketing endeavor.

While 64% of respondents reported that companies having access to their personal data or web behavior makes them feel uneasy, 62% have embraced the fact that data targeting is inevitable, regardless of their feelings towards it.

Many have moved beyond mere acceptance and embrace data targeting, contingent on receiving some personal benefit on the back-end: 67% agree that it is OK so long as the campaign results in relevant offers, advertising, or information for the individual, and 65% agree so long as they save money.

Although research reveals that millennials are more apt to accept the growing incidence of personal data collection and tracking than those of earlier generations, many still worry about its ramifications. Much akin to NSA, the fear resides not in the projects purest intentions (prevent terrorism, provide consumers with ads they care about), but in the outcomes that occur when that information is leveraged for nefarious intentions. Data breaches don’t just happen occasionally, they’re an every day occurrence.

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