Monday, October 16, 2006

Privacy Negotiation in a Flat World

In this NY Times article, the description of how E-Loan deals with outsourced data privacy is interesting
E-Loan Inc. customers worried about safeguards when data get outsourced to India can choose to have loan applications processed domestically, though loans in such cases would take two additional days to close.
Not only is the customer given options for controlling how/where their data is processed, but importantly they are explained the consequences of the choices they make.

The same idea as demonstrated in this Flash.

I wonder if those who opt for local-processing are making an informed decision, i.e. basing their choice based on objective analysis and not some xenophobic gut reaction. I expect E-Loan doesn't disclose which data centers, US or Indian, have better records for employee retention - always a factor in privacy goodness.

2-day difference in loan processing times, hmmm. North America will never be able to compete until we get computers that are equally as fast as those being used in Asia.

1 comment:

Pamela said...

Of course, that strategy only works if a small percentage of customers choose the local processing option. I'm sure the reason for the 2-day wait is that they want to keep the (expensive) American processing staff to a minimum, and therefore the queues will be longer.

This so-called 'choice' begs the question of why any processing is ever done overseas if it can't be secured. Either the company can protect its customers by enforcing privacy agreements or it can't.

Personally, if I were a customer of E-Loan, I would rather receive assurances that all loan processing was secure, not based on some scaremongering geographic generalization, but on good business deals with reputable companies that have decent policies and safeguards in place.