Collect Data Responsibly

6 Mins

When collecting data, be transparent

about the intended use of that data.

To ensure maximum privacy when collecting information:

Ask for consent.

Explain what you’re using the information for, as well as the process for withdrawing consent for (opting out of) that use of the data. Tell the customer why you need their email address, or how you'll be using their date of birth. Be as transparent as possible.

Asking for consent applies to offline data collection as well. For instance, a customer service representative might ask a customer for their contact information on the phone. That representative should explain how they would be using the data.

There are circumstances where someone withdraws consent and you may have to delete their data.

This depends on the privacy laws that apply to your organization, so consult with your legal, IT, or information privacy teams.

Only collect what you need.

Think about the intended business purpose of the data you’re collecting. Why are you processing it and how much of it do you need to fulfill that purpose? Don’t exceed that amount. (Note that if you change how you use the data, you must get new consent.)

For example, if the reason you're collecting data is to process payments, you might need someone's bank account number, but you probably don't need to know their gender or race.

Verify the source.

You don't collect all of your data directly from customers. Sometimes you get it from third parties (like if you're using an API to auto-fill forms in your software). If the data comes from a third party, that party also needs to have obtained consent to use and share it.

Make sure the third party's data is accurate, secure, and obtained lawfully.

Maximize privacy when collecting data by:

  • Asking for consent
  • Only collecting what you need
  • Verifying the source

Let’s return to the dog food scenario from earlier.

Put yourself in the shoes of the people running the delivery service. How can you be more transparent with customers about the way you collect their data?

Quiz 1 of 1

How can you be more transparent with customers about the way you collect their data?

a
Do not mandate that customers fill in the additional fields. Instead, make them optional.
b
Partner with a third-party administrator who will obtain the additional customer information a different way.
c
Explain that your site uses cookies to help improve users' browsing experiences.
d
Explain why and how you’ll be using the additional customer information you’re asking for. Allow people to opt in or out of that use of the data.

The correct answer is D.

You should explicitly ask for consent, explaining the business purpose of collecting the additional information. You should also give users the ability to opt out.

Take the next step:

If you find yourself asking a customer for their email address or date of birth, tell them why you need it. Any time you collect data, you should give the reason behind it.

Lesson complete