My colleague Wes Sparling has written about the importance of data in the success of direct marketing campaigns. How data is managed, especially for marketing purposes, has become a hot topic in political discussions. To find out what to expect in the coming year in terms of data regulation, I had the privilege of attending a policy briefing earlier this week on the “Dynamic State of Data’” sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association and Venable LLP.
The briefing began with a keynote address by Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). When it comes to data security and privacy, Blackburn noted the need for great care in the area of data governance. “We need to be increasingly vigilant in data security and privacy,” she said. “Going forward, one thing is certain, we still do not have the tools necessary to protect [data].”
Blackburn stressed that the industry must be proactive in its data governance and policy engagement, as issues of privacy and data security directly affect our daily lives. “Your presence online – that ‘Virtual You’ – that is the reality we are living in – and it is a shared responsibility of government and individuals and industry,” Blackburn said. To that end, Congressman Blackburn announced that she will re-introduce new SECURE IT legislation in the 114th Congress, noting that technology education will be one key element of the bill focused on securing data held by federal agencies. “Government must be proactive in anticipating threats by sharing information,” she said. “You cannot assume it is not going to happen to you. We must educate people at all levels about technology. We must make a commitment to address this issue sooner rather than later,” Blackburn added.
After Rep. Blackburn spoke, senior Congressional aides Christopher Day and Peter Feldman, Shiela Colclasure, Public Policy and Privacy Officer, Acxiom, and Rachel Nyswander Thomas, Vice President, Government Affairs, DMA provided a preview of what to expect in data legislation in the coming year. The group noted that hot topics in data regulation are geo-data, the internet of things, and mobile. They agreed that comprehensive privacy legislation would be a “fairly heavy lift” in the next Congress, but Federal legislation to standardize the myriad of state regulations regarding data breach notification is a possibility. The group also stressed the need for more open dialog and transparency about data use so consumers understand how their data may be used by marketers.
The briefing also included insights from Travis LeBlanc, Chief, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Julie Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). LeBlanc noted that as cell phone use migrates from voice to data, the FCC is looking more closely at data practices related to these devices. Brill cited the FTC’s work in privacy and data security, and said a key item to note was the rapid advancement in technology and how it applies to consumer protections. She went on to say the FTC was “going where consumers go” and looking at the use of data on mobile and connected devices.
We appreciate the DMA and Venable providing the opportunity to stay at the cutting edge of data use and regulation, and also their commitment to industry self-governance and best practices in data usage.
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