Economic factors are increasingly the focus for many privacy managers and lawyers
The PL&B workshop on 14 September, Harnessing Data, Valuing Privacy, is the first time we have chosen the economic value of data as the main theme of one of our events.
The value of personal data, or indeed, any data, depends very much on your perspective.
Personal data is increasingly a factor to be valued for marketing and as the calculation of value in mergers and acquisitions. But in these scenarios, the way in which personal data is valued depends on a host of factors. These include whether it has been collected in a fair and lawful manner and the extent to which consumers and/or employees could be expected to understand how it will be collected, used and shared.
By coincidence, the September edition of Consumers Association’s Which? magazine addresses these issues in the same month as our event. In a well-balanced article, titled Take control of your smart meter data, it explains the benefits and concerns.
Smart meters are just one area. Issues addressed in the September edition of PL&B UK Report are directly or potentially relevant to any organisation’s data privacy managers and lawyers. These include:
- The way in which data privacy issues are managed and drawn to the board’s attention in this or any sector
- Where design practices steer people to decisions that do not reflect their privacy preferences. This is an infringement of the law after which the ICO may take formal enforcement action
- Helping Data Protection Officers get a seat at the AI strategy table, and
- Transfers of personal data to the US for US-based apps and outsourced data processing contracts.
The ICO’s expanded regulatory role now has an economic dimension. Economists are now on board to increase the ICO’s understanding of the value of data and feed their insights into its policy-making (PL&B UK Report July 2023).
These insights do not mean that the ICO has abandoned its traditional data privacy values. It does mean that the ICO is aligning its policy direction with the government’s strategy. Both data privacy advocates and data privacy free trade supporters will watch closely as the Data Protection & Digital Information (No.2) Bill passes into law, expected next spring. There are few signs that Opposition parties are fundamentally against these developments in their comments on the Bill.
We at PL&B aim to monitor the evolution of these policies and the extent to which they diverge in practice from the well-established EU norms.
John Edwards, Information Commissioner, chairs the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF). To better protect consumers, there is interaction between the ICO’s data protection work and the Competition and Market Authority’s competition and consumer powers. The ICO and Ofcom are conducting research into age assurance technologies. Cooperation between these separate regulators should mean better protection for consumers and a consistent regulatory framework for companies.
The coverage of these issues in PL&B’s 14 September workshop with speakers from the ICO, the DRCF and an independent economist is just the starting point. Every organisation will need to consider these regulatory cooperation developments on the way it values and manages its data assets. We will keep watch on how the regulators sanction the tech giants.
But in many ways, the underlying story is that this new phase of data protection law, policy and enforcement will have an impact on everyone.
Publisher, Privacy Laws & Business