Changing Perceptions of General Data Protection Regulation

For the past few weeks, both the UK and US press have been filled with the alleged misuse of personal data by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. While the ICO and US Congress begin to hold hearings and carry out their investigations, it’s fair to ask if this and GDPR have created a step change in how the consumer understands the value of their data.

Although arguably smaller than the Equifax and Yahoo data breaches, the scandal around Facebook has grown exponentially and has galvanised clients’ and customers’ minds in a way not seen before. There are many reasons for this, some of which are:

• Facebook is ‘more real’, with 1.40 billion active users logging on each day to the network.

• There is a lack of explicit consent given by the individual and an exposure of what data profiling can do.
• A new understanding by the consumer of how their data can be used.

GDPR and the Facebook scandal have come together in a perfect storm. This has shown the public that the theoretical aspects of data privacy have real-world consequences.

What do you do?

A concept has been created that someone is watching over the consumer’s shoulder, whenever they are online. This has been perpetuated by how relevant ads suddenly appear, seemingly connected to a recent email sent, or a conversation just had.

There needs to be an intrinsic value exchange between those who wish to use personal information and those who offer it up. There are parameters and rules which market-leading firms are currently using, including:


The control of data must sit with the consumer who has created it, which is a fundamental aspect of GDPR. Implied consent is no longer enough for a population that is realising the commercial importance of their information.


There is a balancing act between being relevant and ‘looking over your shoulder’. Creepiness can be avoided by asking, ‘would I do this within my personal life?’ If the answer is no, then the balance is wrong.


When data processing makes life easier and safer, individuals are more open for their information to be used. Advanced analytics is fundamental to anti-money laundering efforts, disrupting organised crime online and making cyberspace safer. As the consumer wakes up to what data can do, we as an industry need to be more explicit in the power that data profiling has.

Can the right talent mitigate this risk?

With an organisation’s relationship with its customers now being more data-driven, and with that relationship now in flux, it is vital to acquire individuals who can navigate this transformation.

Data Governance Consultants, GDPR Experts, Data Privacy Specialists and Advanced Analytics Professionals – all with a strong commercial underpinning – have become vital to an organisation. This will continue, although there is another aspect to consider: highly successful individuals will need to understand what the consumer wants and how to deliver value to them

To find out more on this topic and continue reading our whitepaper, please contact James Wyman, Consultant at Norman Broadbent Solutions.


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