Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the latest news we’re paying attention to right now. This week’s updates include a 60 Minutes news feature on GDPR, Dutch Regulators finding Microsoft GDPR violations, and new surveys indicating the rising importance of privacy protection for both consumers and marketers.

GDPR featured on 60 Minutes

The CBS news program 60 Minutes recently ran a report on the EU’s GDPR regulation. The feature included the comments of Apple’s Tim Cook, and Max Schrems, a laywer and one of the primary forces behind drafting the GDPR. The piece focused on comparisons between the EU and the USA’s privacy landscapes. CBS also interviewed Ireland’s data protection commissioner, Helen Dixon, who commented on how large tech companies are spending millions in compliance measures.

What this might mean for brandsPrivacy concerns continue to rise in US culture. Brands should anticipate that California’s Consumer Privacy Act and potential federal legislation will drive that awareness even higher, and proactive steps should be taken to not only come into compliance but also to use privacy as a differentiator that can build consumer trust.

Dutch Privacy Regulators find Microsoft Office in violation of GDPR

Investigators have found that Microsoft has collected personal data through Microsoft Office at large scale without informing users. Microsoft also was sending this data to the US, but has since switched its collection back to Europe. Microsoft telemetry data, a usual part of software monitoring for bugs and crashes, also included sentences from Word and from emails if automated systems detected certain activities such as the use of spell-check. Microsoft agreed to change its services and will seek verification by April 2019.

What this might mean for brands – Regulators indicated that if Microsoft does not make progress, then it would consider enforcement measures, and a fine was not immediately issued. This may indicate that some enforcement agencies in the EU might take remediation plans into account first before jumping to fines.

Data Privacy identified as the number one issue people want companies to address

A new survey published by market research firm Harris Poll indicates that 65% of respondents said that it is personally important to them that a company makes a difference on this issue. Privacy as a concern was followed by health care, veterans, education and others.

What this might mean for brands – According to the authors, the study shows that “companies can no longer afford to overlook consumer privacy.” A study published in July by IBM indicated that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. Brands should consider security and privacy a matter of both technology and business practices, and engage an appropriately robust data and privacy protection program.

Surveys shows protecting customer data is one of CMO’s top challenges

In a September study of 226 CMOs conducted by Forbes Insights and The Trade Desk, 42% of respondents said that protecting customer data is one of their top challenges. A 2018 study by Dentsu indicated that 3 in 10 CMOs top concern was data breaches and data misuse, more than increasing competition.

What this might mean for brands – Considering the rise of awareness of data privacy in the US, while at the same time marketers are increasingly reliant on first party user data, brands should consider protecting personal data and privacy management programs as an executive matter and prioritize their efforts accordingly.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.

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