Key themes at DMA Data protection day 2015; technological change and transparency | DMA

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Key themes at DMA Data protection day 2015; technological change and transparency

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The biggest event in the calendar for data protection enthusiasts, the DMA Data protection day. A range of great speakers presented including information commissioner, Christopher Graham, and throughout their speeches each touched upon how the fast-evolving, data-driven economy required businesses to be ‘whiter than white’ with their customers. Transparency was today's buzzword.

Julia Porter, director of consumer revenues at the Guardian and DMA board chair, showed the Guardian video ‘Why your data matters to us?’. In the simplest terms possible it explains to Guardian customers and readers how the Guardian uses their personal data and how they as individuals benefit from sharing their data. The short video (around 1:30 minutes) was the end product of over a year of debate at the Guardian and is demonstrative of the resistance marketers can encounter when trying to be transparent and talking in the same language as their customers.

As Julia showed, businesses are responding to technological change but not at the pace that is required, considering the instantaneous impact on consumers of changing technology. The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, concurred with this sentiment as he felt the world was changing and regardless the EU Data Protection Regulation will necessitate adjustment.

Chris Combemale, DMA executive director, explained how the DMA is at the forefront of the debate, pushing for greater transparency in one-to-one marketing. The principles-based DMA Code demands that a business puts its customer first, to do this a business must be open and transparent but paramount deliver what it promises to its customers. Furthermore, if you’re being transparent and meeting your customers’ expectations then you are going to be pleasing the regulators as well. Christopher Graham put it this way with tongue firmly in cheek: “don’t piss off your customers”.

Businesses are experiencing a ‘sink or swim’ moment in respect of technological change and must ensure that they adjust to the expectations of their customers. In the words of Jonathan Earle, head of strategy at Telefonica, this means “water tight privacy policies and data protection security” and above all, ensuring transparency throughout a business in order demonstrate the value exchange to consumers.

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