There is a vast underground market for our data …

There is a vast underground market for our data, hidden in plain sight, of which many are not aware. As was the case with the Paradise Papers, the vast majority of these practices are perfectly legal today, but still raise ethical questions. And the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to change this, from May 2018 onwards.

Companies like Google, Facebook, and many others unknown to the public, are building all-encompassing profiles of us, with nearly no limit to the amount of information collected or its use: a secret underworld. Disclosures regarding our data are hidden in lengthy and complex legal agreements, which offer limited practical options to truly opt out. But the introduction of GDPR will address these practices and impact compliance and strategy teams, now tasked with finding new ways to persuade users to agree to what their data is used for, in this multi-billion-pound market. Under GDPR users must be given, in plain language, information on how their data is being used, and truly have options to request it be deleted.

“Understandably, these GDPR regulations will cause many marketers to question what they are going to do. The digital marketing toolbox is about to completely change: cookies and targeted ads based on what we call ‘invisible data’ are essentially no longer going to be legal, and it is likely to see consumers opting out of many common applications of our data unless given compelling reasons in a transparent way. Building a strong trust-based relationship with a proprietary audience will be key in the world of GDPR, getting to know users personally rather than harvesting and profiting from their data behind their backs” comments Fabrizio Fantini, CEO of Expressly.