We are living in a world of surveillance capitalism

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A blog by MyLife Digital’s Managing Director, Jay Cromack

We are living in a world of surveillance capitalism. From our shopping habits to our fitness routines, even health apps holding our prescription history are becoming more intensely tracked by technology. Globally, we now have some of the strictest privacy and data protection laws, yet many of the technologies in place today appear to be too complex for regulators to enforce against [1]. This ultimately creates an ever-increasing gap between what we can do with data and what we should do with data. It is essential for the sake of building trust with consumers that organisations now go beyond what they can legally do and adopt ethical frameworks for the use of people’s data. As I like to say, if you can’t explain it to your grandma without it sounding creepy you probably shouldn’t be doing it, and therefore ethical frameworks will bridge this gap between the ‘getting away with it’ implementers and the ‘doing it right’ winners!

As consumers become more aware of this increased surveillance, data ethics will continue to grow in strategic importance because it can help to build trust. As highlighted in the recent paper from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), ethics is now three times more important to company trust than competence. They also unearthed that trusted companies grow faster and an increase of 1% in brand trust translates to 3% growth in value [2].

It is interesting to learn that members of the WFA are now looking beyond their own organisations to the industry as a whole for solutions. They realise they must hold their suppliers and partners to account for high standards of ethics and transparency in data. This will hopefully see the end of the opaque, invisible processing activities the MarTech and AdTech world have relied on so heavily for the past decade.

At MyLife Digital we have spent the last 5 years building a personal data infrastructure to connect an individual to the data an organisation collects and holds about them.  We enable organisations to be transparent with individuals across all their consumer touchpoints and empower them to make decisions over how their data can and can’t be used, who it can be shared with, and capture preferences to better inform personalisation and experiences. Our infrastructure then orchestrates those consents, permissions, and preferences across all data using services and applications. And to grow trust and demonstrate accountability the platform maintains a fully auditable record available to both the organisation and the consumer via a simple Privacy UX dashboard.


[1] https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/the-ico-must-fix-the-adtech-industry/

[2] https://wfanet.org/knowledge/item/2020/06/01/WFA-launches-worlds-first-guide-on-data-ethics-for-brands


J Cromack

J Cromack

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