Following the Guardian report implicating Google, Facebook, AOL, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo in providing consumer interaction data to the US National Security Association and the FBI – with the help of GCHQ in the UK – questions are being raised over whether marketers will feel a backlash.
Thomas Smedinghoff, a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer, who specialises in privacy and information security law, said: “I think it may put more pressure on the ad industry in terms of behavioural targeting. I certainly don’t think it’s going to help the ad industry.”
Others claim it will have a significant impact on consumer attitudes, which ultimately could affect people’s willingness to share information with brands.
One insider said: “I think it’s going to heighten consumer awareness of the magnitude of data that can be collected. Customers might just think twice about interacting with brands if they think their every move is being monitored.”
And Marc Dautlich, data protection expert at Pinsent Masons, believes it will have wider implications, especially for outsourcing.
He said: “Firms will have to evaluate whether they can continue to meet their data protection obligations if cloud providers cannot offer them sufficient assurances on privacy. Some may be prompted to explore alternative arrangements with smaller non-US sourcing cloud providers, some may look instead to more traditional data centre storage options, while others may elect to keep the responsibility for storing data in their own hands.”
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