Data’s self regulation is just the start

It is certainly a relief that, according to IAB research, consumers are now “comfortable” with the use of behavioural targeting when the methodology and processes are explained to them (MW 20 January), though the research actually serves to highlight how much more work is necessary.

The data marketing industry’s sincere and stringent selfregulation after recent data privacy scares, not least the Phorm media furore, has resulted in sensible and responsible parameters being put into place that show a respect for the individual and their data – a scenario that owes more than a nod to the alcohol industry’s The Portman Group. This trade body was independently and proactively set up to self-regulate the manner in which alcohol is promoted and perceived, specifically helping to prevent underage drinking and drink driving.

By doing so, the drinks industry showed legislators that it was aware of its own issues and was capable, willing and active in being part of the solution. A similar thought process has driven the data marketing industry’s recent perception success.

But while consumers are largely comfortable with behavioural targeting when they understand the nature and use of the collection of their data, 40% still harbour an immediate disinclination towards it. If the industry does not do more to demonstrate and promote the transparency of processes and the respect with which data is treated, the legislators will take a far harsher line than we would prefer.

Malcolm Duckett
Vice-president operations


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