Zoho Chief Evangelist Raju Vegesna has famously called data collection techniques that trick users into providing data via social media share buttons “adjunct surveillance.” Today’s columnist, John Donegan of ManageEngine, says companies don’t have to behave unethically to obtain information and offers more responsible ways to collect and manage consumer data. (Creative Commons CC BY-NC-2.0)

For years, enterprises have abused user privacy for the sake of bottom lines. The exploitation of user data has become so evident and extreme that countries and regulatory agencies have intervened. We’ve seen the EU’s GDPR, Brazil’s LGPD, California’s CCPA, and New York’s SHIELD Act. Moreover, additional regulations are likely on the way.

Because of recent government-mandated regulations and increased public awareness, companies have resorted to more nuanced, surreptitious methods of acquiring customer data. In some cases, surveillance companies place trackers on company websites to acquire the company’s user data—all without permission from the users.

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