Last updated: You’ve purchased one item: How many companies now have your private data?

You’ve purchased one item: How many companies now have your private data?


When talking consumer data privacy, most people don’t grasp how much of their data is out there, how it gets from company to company, or how it’s protected.

I recently started experiencing some lower back pain, and after traditional fixes like yoga sessions and foam rollers didn’t work, I did some online reading, and realized that the culprit to my pain was likely an aged mattress.

I made a visit to our local mattress store, where I’d previously bought my current mattress to explore utilizing the lifetime warranty that we’d purchased.

You might be wondering what lower back pain, a warranty, and customer data have in common, or what they have to do with consumer data privacy.

Well, let me illuminate the intersections of these three worlds.

The lower back pain of consumer data privacy: A real-life journey

Here’s how my story and the story of my customer data unfolds along the path to purchase.

consumer data privacy infographic

Customer consent is the new battleground

As a person who works in the data and customer experience industry, I’m familiar with regulations like the EU GDPR, the state of California’s CCPA, and Brazil’s LGPD. 

I understand the need for companies (of certain specification) to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) and have agreements in place to transfer my sensitive customer data from one partner to another.

But who is helping guide the way to protect and outline how all customer data should be captured, transmitted, process, stored, and deleted?

When I reflect on what might seem like a simple scenario, the majority of us don’t consciously seem to grasp how much of our data is out there, how it’s sent from one business to another, if you have a choice in the data transfer, or if your consumer data is protected.

While many of us feel we’re buying a product (mattress) from one company, it turns out that there are potentially many more companies – five in my case – that end up with our personal data. I have no idea how they protect, store, or retain my valuable information, or if they have a consumer data privacy policy.

Hopefully now you’re more aware of how much and what kind of your personal data is out there in the possession of other people.

In this case, removing my back pain was more important than stopping the proliferation of my personal data. But sometimes it’s not back pain, it’s just a simple online order. Do you know the chain of your data with each purchase you make? As the conversation evolves around consumer data privacy, hopefully you’ll start asking.

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