Regardless of how one feels about Edward Snowden, he certainly has brought the privacy issue to the forefront. While the NSA has been in the eye of the media storm, private industry’s collection of personal data is on the coat tails. In President Obama’s speech last week, he alluded to directing one of his advisers to “lead a comprehensive review of big data and privacy.” That most likely will be targeted at the incredibly sophisticated Marketing practices now conducted by many corporations – and “Big Data” is just getting started.
People are becoming more aware of how much information about them is being tracked. If you compound the NSA debacle with the impact of the 2013 holiday season Target data breach (I personally had to replace my debit card), the privacy issue is becoming a lot more real for average citizens. Government moves slow – but it looks like it is starting to move on this issue – and that most likely will mean some changes for the companies (big and small) who have gotten quite used to collecting, using, selling information about us as a core business model.
I invite visitors to revisit my white paper from last Spring where I shared some thoughts on what potential policy changes around Big Data and privacy could mean for marketers and communicators. It included a useful piece of advice from Tim Keller, a law partner with Lindquist and Vennum’s IT, Internet and eCommerce practice (in Minneapolis), and author of the blog Big Data and The Law: “To prepare for radical shifts in data management policy, have as much knowledge about your data as you can, so when a legislator says you can’t have it, you throw away as little as possible.” It might be time to start thinking a little harder about that.