Nowadays, most of our activities and personal details are recorded by one entity or another. These data are used for many applications that fundamentally enrich our lives, such as navigation systems, social networks, search engines, and health monitoring. On the darker side of data collection lie usages that can harm us and threaten our sense of privacy. Marketing, as an academic field and corporate practice, has benefited tremendously from this era of data abundance, but has concurrently heightened the risk of associated harms.
In this paper, we discuss both the great advantages and potential harms ushered in by this era of data collection, as well as ways to mitigate the harms while maintaining the benefits. Specifically, we propose and discuss classes of potential solutions: methods for collecting less data overall, transparency of code and models, federated learning, identity management tools, among others. Some of these solutions can be implemented now, others require a longer horizon, but all can begin through the advocacy of Marketing Research. We also discuss possible ways to improve on the benefits of data collection – by developing methods to assist individuals pursue their long-term goals while advocating for privacy in such pursuits.