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The Data Barter – What we Share and Why we Should Care

The Data Barter – What we Share and Why we Should Care

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has sparked a little revolution in the way we think about our personal data.

Governments around the world are looking at the regulation and asking how it can inform the debate around the protection of personal data. In California, the home of big tech and so many of the social media platforms we use every day, new regulations have been ratified which give Californians similar rights over their personal data to those which European citizens are given under GDPR.

Yet the public debate does not seem to have caught up with the lawmakers. How many of us really understand the extent to which our personal data is in the public domain?

The Cambridge Analytica scandal illustrates clearly how a seemingly innocuous online survey can expose our data to powers beyond our control.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal illustrates clearly how a seemingly innocuous online survey can expose our data to powers beyond our control. Sharing our contact list might not seem significant on a personal level but, when we consider the political consequences, the significance is huge.

Once given, that personal data is very difficult to claw back. While GDPR has made a conscious effort to address this, it remains to be seen how effectively these rights can be exercised.

When social media first hit our computer screens, we were all so focused on the benefits of connectivity and networking that it offered. Millennials, who were the test bunnies of this new media, gave away their privacy without a second thought.

When social media first hit our computer screens, we were all so focused on the benefits of connectivity and networking that it offered.

Perhaps future generations will be more wary. Commentators do expect the march towards greater regulation of the tech firms to continue, so Generation Z may have better laws in place to help them manage and own their own digital footprint.

What does this all mean for brands? It means being open and transparent about your data policy and your data management. It probably means not sharing customer data with third parties. And it means having the right cybersecurity policies in place to ensure that when people trust you with their personal data, you deserve that trust.

Cambridge Analytica might not have been the seismic wake-up call that the investigative journalists involved with uncovering the scandal thought it ought to be, but the direction of travel is clear. We are slowly but inexorably moving towards a greater consumer understanding and regulation of personal data.

Brands who do the hard work now not only mitigate their own business risk – they are creating a more consumer-focused approach that will serve them better as we go into a new era of consumer rights around our personal, digital footprints.

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