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Nov 01

Thoughts Following the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Academy

by Emanuel Pleitez • November 1, 2012

Privacy Unplugged, The Spokeo Perspective

Spokeo’s Chief Privacy Officer, Angela Saverice-Rohan, and I recently attended the Privacy Academy organized by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) in San Jose, California. While I enjoyed discussing privacy with experts from around the world, I think it is even more important for conference attendees to return to their companies and share their takeaways with their colleagues and customers. The dialogue around privacy must expand and occur more often. Data about people continues to grow faster than we can figure out what to do with and real life implications must be considered at every turn.

The idea of building trust with customers and it’s presence at the forefront of product development is an emerging theme with which I enjoyed grappling. This practice will continue to dictate the long-term success of any enterprise. From back end to front end development and design, communication amongst privacy professionals, data scientists, software engineers, and designers is critical as all elements of product development should converge on establishing trust with customers.

As customers learn more about the data that exists about them, it is incumbent upon the companies to be able to tell the story behind big data and its various uses. The companies that are best addressing this, understand the intersection of data science, visualization, communication, and design. Consumers deserve that their data, and its uses, be told in story form rather than a flat gathering of the data or dense explanation that is hard to understand.

In addition, the privacy interests of consumers should be an integral part of any company’s product development cycle. Companies and their privacy professionals should have an in-depth understanding of their business models in order to understand where to pick their battles.  This is especially true as companies build out operations in emerging markets where regulatory regimes are sometimes less mature. Emerging markets can play an interesting role in providing examples of self-regulatory environments to the rest of the world. Multi-national companies are likely to apply the lessons learned from more developed markets, and collaboration, even amongst competitors, is more likely to take place when navigating through regulatory institutions.

Here at Spokeo, like most other technology companies, our focus lies on building the most innovative and easy-to-use products for our users. We are making strides every day in keeping and expanding the trust of our users, while respecting their privacy interests  and continuing to create useful people search products. We are excited about the maturation of the privacy profession and believe it needs to be intertwined with product development. We look forward to contributing our insight in this space as we learn from our interactions with millions of users on a regular basis. Please stay posted for more thoughts shared by our Chief Privacy Officer Angela and myself as we discuss the evolution of people search and the public’s privacy interests.

For a complete list of speakers and presentations from the 2012 Privacy Academy visit the IAPP website listing.

-Emanuel

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