Month: March 2018

Rebuilding consumer trust after Cambridge Analytica


Having invested heavily in online services, the last thing brands and public bodies want is to see customers and service users abandon them. J Cromack, chief commercial officer at Consentric, advises organisations how to navigate the current crisis of confidence,

It’s concerning to see companies still treating people’s personal data as a tradeable commodity – something they can use however they like and sell on for a handsome profit. But all that is about to end.

Many consumers have until now turned a blind eye to routine data collection – largely accepting it as part of the deal for having convenient and often free online services. But Cambridge Analytica’s activities and Facebook’s responsibility and subsequent response[1] have brought matters to a tipping point[2]. Online service providers are going to have to work hard to win back trust.

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Cambridge Analytica and Facebook – did they put the individual at the heart of their data strategy?

With more headlines breaking over the weekend about the disinformation and misuse of personal data to effect global political campaigns, it brought home to us that our three key pillars; accountability, transparency and empowerment are paramount in this digital world.

The latest news that 50 million Facebook accounts have been accessed and data used to build profiles to assist with Donald Trump’s election campaign and steer the Brexit referendum by Cambridge Analytica is quite frankly – shocking.

The FT, that once hired Cambridge Analytica for market research purposes themselves, are calling this a data scandal[1].

There are calls for the ICO to investigate and MP Damian Collins of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said he will call both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to give further testimony.

There is also a Channel Four News expose due to air later this week, where reporters have gone undercover as prospective clients and secretly filmed the meetings.

And herein lies the rub. If the personal data had been sought by the organisation transparently – with full disclosure as to the purpose for its collection and subsequent use, all of this could have been avoided.

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