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Data Privacy – don’t make it personal

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Data privacy is a hot topic and one everyone can relate to. With the recent boom in mobile devices and the way we interact with shops via an omnichannel approach, our personal information has never been more accessible – or so you think!


Consumer intelligence is not so much about what a person is doing, it’s more about what people are doing, and in the case of mobile data where they are doing it and when. So whilst permission based customer data can be used by brands to pursue the marketing goal of achieving a personal contact and relationship with a consumer, it will not shed light on the wider out of home behaviour, context and movement patterns of mobile enabled consumers.


Given the complexity of privacy law and how vital it is to organizations and the public the definition of PII is crucial. As a result PII is defined as three approaches in various laws and regulations. The “tautological” approach, the “non-public” approach and the “specific-types” approach.


However, with a solid commercial framework and strict governance supported by encryption technology it is possible to take mobile network data, protect the individual and at the same time deliver new data sources to responsible third parties.


If not, then mobile operators can expect to meet challenges in working with responsible global solutions and sales partners to help maximize the full commercial potential of this new data source and deliver it as a globally accessible service.


Reflecting on recent events that have gained press coverage, I understand the need to protect the individual, after all I am one too! But setting that emotional debate aside my principle objective is to see data deliver new insights into what people are doing, not what a person is doing. No third party working with the MNO will have access to their key or methodology of anonymization and the service delivers aggregated consumers, by time and place of their behaviour and activity.


One thing is for sure that unless we can reach resolution mobile data is in danger of losing a significant proportion of its use case potential and commercial value.

About the Author
Jim Brooks is the Global Business Development Director Consumer Insights at SAP. He has over 15 years of experience in the Advertising and Marketing sectors holding C-level positions as Creative Group Head, Creative Director and Business Development Director within a number of major advertising agencies including Ogilvy’s, Saatchi’s, McCann’s and JWT. Jim also has many years of experience as an independent consultant delivering thought leadership and business innovations supporting the development digital media and marketing channels.