Pre-digital shopping was kind of simple. If I buy a toaster in a store and pay cash, there is a very limited exchange of information. We have added a few things to that transaction now that permit data gathering, like loyalty cards, electronic transactions that capture some information, and so on. But the toaster itself was pretty straightforward. Even though it probably has instructions, you probably threw them in the recycling without reading them.
Even relatively complex transactions, like buying a home or a car did not give the other participants in the transaction much ongoing right to information other than whether I made my payments on time. Okay, they got your credit bureau. But they didn't get your browsing history, did they? And these kinds of transactions have a LOT of consumer protection built into them.
Buying even a simple digital product has become an exercise in trust
You might want to know what sort of permissions you are granting, but wading through the terms and conditions is a task for a lawyer, not a customer.
The old days of agreeing not to de-compile or reverse-engineer the software you just installed was the age of innocence compared to today's agreements.
I have tried to read a few of these to figure out what I am really agreeing to. I can navigate a 35 page management services agreement with a client, but most of the digital terms and conditions agreements I have tried to read have defeated me. (Perhaps deliberately? Or am I being paranoid? Is it the tiny window perhaps?)
Will my digitally enabled car have a button that says "I agree" before I start to drive? And if it did, who can agree -- just the owner, or what about the young drivers in the household? And what data is the car collecting?
The government is on top of this, right?
Governments don't seem to be paying a lot of attention to this topic, really. Privacy czars are largely a voice in the wilderness on this topic, not getting tremendous support from elected officials. Heck, governments mostly want to get in on the action, using the terrorist threat as a lever to get increasing amounts of access to our online lives.
One thing is clear
Clicking yes means "I trust you" because there is just no way this is informed consent. As a brand, you should take that trust seriously.