Online shopping and personal data

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    By Niño Valmonte

    First of two parts

    AS the merriest season just passed, with one of its many gifts was the dizzying number of deals from various online stores.

    Online shoppers continue to multiply every year, with no signs of stalling in the future. By 2023, online retail in Southeast Asia is expected to balloon to more than $53B from $19B in 2018. It will account for 6.5 percent of the all the region’s retail sales, according to a Forrester report.

    Key drivers of this growth last Christmas included better-priced deals, varied offerings, convenience, speed of transaction, and immediate user feedback that physical stores usually fail to offer. Online marketplaces around the globe held its annual series of monthly steep sale events leading up to the holidays.

    Records from marketplaces in the country usually report tens of millions of items sold on the day of each of these monthly shopping craze sales that start in September.

    A good number of patrons still have reservations about online shopping and choose to shop in physical stores due to concerns over data security, in addition to purchase quality. This, together with incidents of data breaches filling the news, now warrants the question: could online shopping be luring us down a rabbit hole we can’t get out of?
    Online stores can pose a trap just as much as physical stores do.

    The only difference is that with online shopping, you can visit hundreds of stores in the comfort of your own bed, hot cocoa in hand, in your underpants. Both stores, however, would ideally implement the necessary security measures, though different types, to fend off threats and vulnerabilities. If data security is what makes you think twice about joining the e-commerce bandwagon, here are some basic facts that might help you make a less stressful decision to go ahead and get that bag you always wanted, online.

    Online retailers worldwide that accept credit card as a mode of payment are met with a set of requirements by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), the global card industry security standard that protects the storage of payment information and other personal data of consumers. This reduces the risk of theft or loss of information while your records are handed to a retailer. Additionally, reputable stores install digital counterparts of a physical store’s CCTV cameras, alarm systems, and security locks, which come in the form of a tight and comprehensive cybersecurity plan that offers a wide array of solutions for any web security issue that may arise. For peace of mind, check the shopping site for certification badges that denote security measures and compliance in place. – To be continued next week. (Author is IPC Director for Marketing & Digital Innovations)