Consumers are increasingly online doing all kinds of transactions.  These transactions often involve sharing personal and private information.  Yet consumers might not be fully aware of how that personal and private information is being used and/or ways in which they could better protect themselves.

So I was particularly interested to read about the just announced “Digital IQ” initiative being launched by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Acxiom.  Their initiative, which other businesses and organizations will be invited to join, is going to try and help consumers become more knowledgeable about the Internet (www.bbb.org; “Better Business Bureau to Launch “Digital IQ” Initiative with Acxiom”; July 1).

How will this be done?  Per the BBB announcement, the partners are going to conduct researched geared at identifying specific areas on which consumers need help in “…developing effective habits and skills for navigating the digital world.  By understanding how consumer data is collected and used, as well as the tools available to exercise choice about these processes, consumers can develop a “data comfort zone.”  Their initial products will be practical educational materials focusing on shopping and buying but the hope is that the initiative’s scope will expand over time to teaching consumers about other uses of data and analytics.

They’ve announced that their initial research will examine topics including:

  • How consumers can become smarter shoppers to get the best deals while staying in their respective data comfort zone;
  • How and when consumers should fill out marketing surveys; and
  • How advertisers use location data that’s on consumers’ devices.