ethical data

Ex-Cambridge Analytica Exec on Ethical Data Compliance

Brittany Kaiser, the former Cambridge Analytica executive turned co-founder of the Own Your Data Foundation, is calling for marketers to drive ethical data compliance.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Sarah O’Carroll for Verizon Media’s Identity Decoded Part 1: Privacy or Precision? webinar, Kaiser says brands should be opting for ethical data compliance and not just the bare minimum required by the law. She says by doing so, marketers will have a better chance of getting to know their consumers and in turn eradicate much of the fraud that occurs in the digital advertising world. “I really do believe the more ethical you are about data protection and about privacy, the more trustworthy relationship you’re going to have with your consumers,” Kaiser says. “You could probably increase your ROI quite a lot if you had a transparent data relationship with consumers.”

By Paige Murphy 

Kaiser rose to international fame for her involvement as a whistleblower against her former employer in the great Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. Now she spends her time working as a data activist advocating for data protection and education around the world. Speaking to O’Carroll, she says that while consumers can’t take back the data they have previously handed over, they should be pushing for better rights and protection moving forward. “We should be pushing for new laws and regulations to look like what our moral and ethical standards should be,” Kaiser says. “So that compliance isn’t really something that is minimum, it’s actually a higher guideline of what we should and shouldn’t be doing.”

As laws around the world continue to change and consumers become more aware of what data they are handing over, Kaiser says it means marketers will need to rethink how they have been getting to know customers over recent years but it will be for the better.

You could probably increase your ROI quite a lot if you had a transparent data relationship with consumers.

She says both marketers and data scientists should be open and transparent about what data they are collecting, how they are using it and why, and offer some form of value exchange. “I do think that data scientists and marketers could really benefit from thinking in that way as opposed to spending money purchasing and licensing data about me without ever talking to me about it,” she says.

Since the Cambridge Analytica and a Facebook scandal occurred, a number of other big companies have been hit with data breaches but Kaiser says for most the punishment doesn’t match the crime. For many, the fines received have been just another invoice paid except in the case of the Australian government’s lawsuit against Facebook where they are suing the social media company for up $529 billion – more than the company is worth.

Moving forward, Kaiser says that the focus will shift towards criminal convictions for the companies. “I think as we’re going forward into what it looks like to enforce compliance, we’re going to see a lot more advocacy for criminal liability for negligence,” she says. “Here in the United States, senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Corporate Executive Accountability Act last year to US congress which would mean if there’s negligence like Facebook or Equifax had – they allowed a data breach to occur – then, yes, that would be considered criminally liable, not just a fine.”

This article originally appeared in AdNews. Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash.

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