GDPR and the Importance of Data Ethics

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May 25th, 2018, the day the world ends and the day the EU referendum act on data protection supersedes the data protection act of 1998. This is a highly anticipated moment for GDPR and data ethics and there’s a lot of fear around what this could mean for data analysis and data collection. The panel was hosted by Jed Mole; Marketing Director for Acxiom & Live Ramp he was joined by Chris Combemale; CEO of DMA Group and Joachim Fauth; Head of Law and Company Data Protection Officer of Reader’s Digest.

Together they discussed the fears and expectations surrounding GDPR and data ethics and overall how necessary Data Regulation is. An interesting take away from the panel was that 86% of marketers believe that they benefit more from data collection than the consumers. There’s a lot of talk about how, as a consumer, sharing your data allows for more tailored ads and campaigns however there is clearly a disparity between how much both sides benefit from data sharing. With 86% of people saying they want more control over how their data is shared and used. Combemale discussed how the number one reason people will happily share their data is trust. Brands must become more authentic, honest and open in their relationship with their consumers to maintain a happy audience. This just seems like good business and if regulation is going to guide brands to become better brands surely that’s not all bad.

Fauth spoke about the view of GDPR as purely disciplinary and this could be where the innate fear of regulation is originating from. When in fact GDPR is so much more than that. It encourages; and in some cases, forces, organisations to keep their audience’s best interests at heart rather than becoming blinkered with data collection and blind sighted by the amazing research technology we have at our fingertips. He spoke about the Samsung smart TV scandal, how the television sets were recording user’s conversations and storing them in the cloud, and how data regulation will prevent scandals like that occurring again. The problem was that no one knew what was happening, neither the customer or Samsung, therefore regulation not only puts organisations more in tune with their customers but also ensures they know their products inside and out.

With the advancements in AI GDPR and data ethics is needed more than ever to ensure user rights and privacy is being respected. This regulation helps create a nice balance between innovation and privacy. Although it’s another line of red tape to cross it does its job in maintaining user trust which is number one for brands targeting generation z. Fauth spoke about how Germany managed the introduction of their data protection act and commented on how life was relatively the same after. “Germany is still standing”. Overall it seems like the hype around the topic of GDPR is just fear of the unknown and the result should be beneficial for brands and consumers alike.

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