Oh have you not heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heard⦠| DMA

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Oh have you not heard? It was my understanding that everyone had heardâ¦


Haven’t you heard? No, it’s not the ornithological headline you may be expecting. It’s that data protection is really important. It protects the personal information about your friends, your families, your customers, your prospects and you. Compliance to data protection laws keeps you off the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) naughty list, which could save you up to €1m or 2% of annual worldwide turnover. And it paints a picture of trust for both you and your brand, which can help you make lots and lots of money. These have been the echoing rallying cries that have been emanating from the stirs in EU data protection reforms.

There has been lots of media coverage around current and new data regulations such as, the right to be forgotten in the social media and search engine space and, more recently, heavy press around nuisance calls, texts and direct mail. There have been Task Forces put together to recommend ways of improving direct marketing and there has been research on how the new regulations will impact businesses financially. Whilst the trilogue between the Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament and European Commission continues behind closed doors and implementation could still be 2 and a half years away, businesses should be looking at how they will adapt to the reforms.

Privacy and personal data are undergoing perceptual evolution and there is healthy debate about whether or not ‘big data’ is helpful or invasive. Do consumers want their information to be used this way? Do they even care? Considering that the details of a lady’s ankles were highly guarded only a couple hundred years ago, goes to show how much privacy has changed without considering the very recent, modern day, accelerators like the World Wide Web and cloud based services. If you want to know a little more about the consumer perception of data privacy, here’s a link to the DMA & Acxiom’s whitepaper on consumer attitudes.

Consumers are more mindful of the status of their online presence and, to reference a couple figures from the aforementioned whitepaper, 31% of consumers don’t feel they have control of how their information is processed and 7/10 are concerned that their details are being used for other purposes than the purpose that it was originally collected. Tim Elkington, Chief Strategy Officer at the IAB UK, expresses this well. In a comment on the growth of lead generation reward sites, he says: “The majority of people online say they’re aware how these sites make money, and whilst the privacy debate continues, the reality is that nearly half are willing to share personal information to get these things.” And so, maybe we have become more liberal with our data. But the one thing that has stayed constant is that as long as the value exchange is good enough, people are willing to share these details.

The impact on digital marketing could be significant. If explicit consent is written into the final draft, it may change the way people signup to marketing communication. Data profiling and segmentation will become difficult when managing different levels of consent. And systems will have to accommodate for the right to be forgotten and subject access requests. There is also the uncertainty about the usability of legacy data, and whether or not there will be an implementation phase or a grandfathering process.

So start thinking about how you process and store personal data in your business and get to grips on how these regulations interact with your use of this data. The government and other businesses aren’t waiting and will already be making changes to improve data protection. For those of you in the data buying and selling business, this sector could be severely restricted so keep your ears perked and your eyes peeled. For those of you who thought, as a data processor, you are out of scope, think again and go back to the drawing board to plan in privacy. Get ready for your clients or suppliers questions on data protection due diligence. Be prepared to answer the question:

“How will you be demonstrating proof of consent?”

Because data protection is really important. It protects the personal information about your friends, your families, your customers, your prospects and you.

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