User Data and Ethical Use

Having access to Augmentedev’s user data regarding users’ hits on our tracking images could be used to find out what tracking images people looked at, where they are located, how long they spent looking, and if they came back more than once.  For the museum, this information might be helpful from an economic perspective.  The museum could use the information to make business decisions about what books to create in future.  It could assist them in creating books that are targeted to topics that are of interest to their visitors.  For example, the museum might want to know if people tended to spend more time looking at our models of the aircraft or of the clothing. This information could also assist the museum in deciding what sorts of in-museum or online exhibits to create in future.

To the question of ethics: it would be ethical to use this data if it were cleansed of any personal information, or any data that, if triangulated, could reveal a person’s identity.  But it seems unlikely that Augmentedev would even collect personal information besides, perhaps, IP addresses.  But even if a person’s IP address were tracked, the museum could ethically use targeted information to send product offerings to past Augmentedev users.  I think in Canada it is legal for a business entity to contact a person for marketing purposes if they have a pre-existing business relationship with that person.  But the question remains: does a user’s scanning of an Augmentedev tracking image and viewing of an associated link constitute the creation of a business relationship?  Presently, we get bombarded on a regular basis with online advertisements for products solely based on our internet activity.  So I would think that museum use of a user’s data would be ethical.  It would be more questionable, ethically, if the museum sold the data to other museums or other businesses.