Facebook’s telling off – who’s next for the naughty step?

With the help of a booster-seat, Facebook sat very much under the media spotlight in April, while the way it used customers’ personal data was scrutinised. The pressure is still very much on Facebook at the moment, although we can be sure it’s not the only technology giant that’s been digging through our personal data and enjoying the good parts.

But who will be the next up on the naughty step? Some say it could be Google, Amazon or Apple. These organisations have had free rein over customer data for over a decade, and it’s only now with the emergence of new data regulations that individuals are being given power over their own data.

EU regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) detail the ways organisations must record, process and share their customers’ personal data. It provides organisations with clear guidance and best practice for data governance – welcome assistance for UK organisations large and small.

What the tech giants been up to

The technology giants like Google, Amazon and Apple all collect data on their customers, but it’s only with the introduction of GDPR that personal data is getting a definition and given more respect.

Personal data  includes anything from email addresses, location, IP addresses, names, relationship status, likes, dislikes, preferences, political views, weight, height, heart rate, age – the list goes on. This information gives invaluable insight for organisations, as well as advertisers, product and service testing and, if the rumours are to be believed, even the manipulation of our behaviour.

What’s changed with data protection?

It’s on everyone’s lips at the moment, and in everyone’s email inbox – GDPR has changed the status quo on data protection, or rather written a new one entirely. As we’ve seen with the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica investigation, it has become apparent it’s definitely needed as organisations seem to have been extensively collecting, sharing and using customers’ personal data without much consideration for ethics. It’s also clear that individuals aren’t happy with this and want control over their personal data again, with Facebook shedding a little over $100 billion in value following the investigation, and Cambridge Analytica having to cease operations.

The introduction of GDPR will see businesses face strong financial penalties for the misuse of their customers’ personal data with the hope of detering similar future behaviour. But are these penalties strong enough? Will small companies struggle to comply with the regulation while the tech giants’ armies of lawyers manage to find a way around it through loopholes? It’s unknown what the effect will be, thought equally drive a new era of data governance best practices, which will benefit UK businesses’ bottom line.

What this means

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Report found GDPR was the regulation dominating large UK organisations’ data governance programmes at 26 percent. Since the report launch, UK companies have a bit more time to prepare for the regulation, it will be interesting to see how they have gotten on since then.

The 4IR Report also found that 56 percent of respondents felt their organisations were doing “reasonably well” at implementing data governance programmes. With the increase in scrutiny and pressure in light of GDPR this year, we may see a more negative response.

A lot has changed in the data governance in the last three years, once a topic of IT professionals, it’s now drawn the attention of billions throughout the world. The pressure is on for organisations to comply with new data regulations, or face significant financial and reputational damage as a result.

46 percent of UK businesses believed the Government was doing an excellent job educating organisations about GDPR. As we wait for the first victims of the regulation, we wonder whether this sentiment has changed at all.

So, will we see UK organisations leading the way by sharing the best data governance practices with world?