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Data Breach and All that, Now What

Last updated:
4th May, 2018
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Data Breach and All that, Now What

When a trainer at a workshop many years back, showed a packed audience a dozen ghost sites in the background secretly tracking a user on a famous airlines website, it did create panic. Social media websites had just started to become the darling of Digital marketing folks then. Data and Privacy laws since then have continued to remain unclear, uncertain yet glorified.
With the big Facebook breach, we digital marketing and advertising folks are expected to relook at the equation. It also becomes important to understand how we reached here, the extent of the mess and the areas that concern us as we tread the path going forward.

Some of these below areas concern us:

– Our regular tools and our approach to consumer segmentation, targeting and content seeding.
– ‘How much of data’ is enough and where does the ethical boundary end.
– Practices of unethical fans acquisition and data brokerage rampage.
– Finally, what the consumer wants and the code of ethics.
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Let’s take a step back. Is this data breach something new? Haven’t companies helped clients acquire fans at cheap prices or data brokers with their ability to use big data – connecting dots mapping users’ personal information and making inferences for granular targeting.

The key question is if it affects Digital marketing and communication? Yes, but not much, just minor hiccups and some adjustments. We need to understand the real problem. Is it Facebook or how we approach Data and the “deep insights” we demand from these Social networks? We know, our pitches to brands rest on the richness of consumers’ data and insights we derive, then leading to the ideas we built on top of them. Most of this is around the consumers ‘personal information’, a traditional planner or a digital strategist spending weeks to uncover consumer characteristics, their actions and insights. Folks in Digital have always been beneficiary of gaining access to vast amount of user’s personal information, including other aspects like IP, location, Device, etc. Most ad networks blindly flock to Google and Facebook because these giants promise granular targeting.
As an industry, we may have crossed several lines too. We are all responsible for this insane world, we have landed ourselves in.
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While we discuss this topic globally, both brands and consumers are in a fix today. Technology and its terrible dependency have made consumers live in a state of continuous ignorance. Their data exposure starts from their browsing history and goes deeper exposing their likes, tastes, preferences and actions. Additionally, this problem is compounded by Social media giants whose entire premise is based on capturing consumer data details of which consumers aren’t really clear about.

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Now with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe, and multiple other steps, we hope consumers will know what data is being collected and have the ability to remove their information from the servers if they want to.
We as marketers need to rethink targeting, tracking, privacy, data collection and its ethical usage, all over again. We need to clearly ask, how much of data capture is enough. What is that opt-in or opt-out request likely to be? For once, imagine a No-Data World (NDW), where we have broad segments basis which we devise campaigns and come out with innovative, non-intrusive ways to reach out to the consumers. Think how we operate in a kid’s world. Advertising may need to get more creative and create deeper meaningful experiences. It may find it a bit difficult to change and adjust, even though its minor; while consumers will seemingly adjust too, to a privacy-based experience going forward knowing clearly what happens to their data.

Facebook or No Facebook, the data privacy issue needs a wider discussion, though we hope these social giants will take positive steps themselves as opposed to being forced by enforcement agencies. They have a responsibility towards society.

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Facebook did publicly apologise and ensured this won’t happen again. Making users believe its all about connecting the world and then hiding privacy terms under complex reams under settings, needs to go.
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Profile

Rajeev Sharma

Blog Author
Rajeev Sharma, is a recognized thought leader with over two decades of experience in digital media, social marketing, mobile and digital technologies. He was head of J. Walter Thompson (Digital), for 7 years and served as a member of the JWT’s Global Digital Council. Currently Rajeev works as an Independent digital consultant, through his Digital consulting firm Awrizon, advising start-ups and brands on digital transformation and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is a Data breach?

When confidential or private information is accessed without permission, it is referred to as a data breach. Because of the vast amount of data that can be captured in one fell swoop, corporations and enterprises are particularly appealing targets for hackers. This can hurt businesses and consumers in many ways.

2What causes Data breaches?

There are many different reasons for a data breach, including by accident. But targeted attacks are usually carried out in one of four ways:

1. Taking advantage of system flaws: Out-of-date software can lead to a security breach, allowing malware to penetrate a machine and steal data.
2. Passwords that are weak : Hackers can more easily guess weak and unsafe user passwords, especially if they comprise complete words or phrases. As a result, experts advise utilizing unique, difficult passwords rather than simple ones.
3. Drive-by Download : By accessing a hacked website, you could unwittingly download a virus or malware. A drive-by download frequently uses a security flaw in an out-of-date browser, application, or operating system.
4. Malware attacks with a specific target : Spam and phishing emails are used by attackers to deceive users into giving passwords, downloading malware attachments, or visiting vulnerable websites. Email is a typical way for malware to infiltrate your computer.

3What are businesses doing to deal with data breaches?

To better protect the consumer data they use and keep, several businesses are tightening security measures and reevaluating their policies.

In the event of a data breach or other security incident, there are laws and regulations in place that compel businesses to take specified procedures. When consumers’ personally identifiable information is hacked, most jurisdictions require businesses to notify them of the breach.

However, you should never put your trust in others to keep your data safe. It’s crucial to take precautions and keep an eye on your data at all times.

There are a few strategic best practices to follow to help you minimize the impact on your company such as:

1. Consulting with the Legal Counsel
2. Secure your data and systems to limit further data loss
3. Notify relevant people about the breach to maintain their trust
4. Fix vulnerabilities to avoid future breach

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