The latest fuss over MSN and Yahoo! handing over information to the US Department of Justice spurred on the Ponemon Institute to find out what ordinary internet users know about their own personal data trail. Well, 77% have no clue that companies like Google collect information that can be traced back to them.
The obvious lesson from this? Internet users are, on average, clueless.
But what does that really mean to your business? Don't assume they are savvy enough to know what information your organization collects, uses and discloses. Implied consent is, in many cases, a fallacy because you simply cannot assume that they know what's going on. You need to tell them. And, in my experience, the more open, honest and forthright you are, the more otherwise suspicious customers will trust you. It's strange, but true.
See The Register's summary of the survey: 77% of Google users don't know it records personal data.