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Wednesday, January 07, 2015


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Hi Ronald,

Great that this important topic is on the agenda and the speakers for the round-table promises a lively and thorough discussion.

Just to add to the discussion, a few remarks:

* A good opinion article was published today in Het Financieele Dagblad about Big Data, its use and privacy issues. It actually takes a moderate stand against the upcoming EU data protection laws, or at least tries to nuance it a little. The point is made that simply analysing data should not be intrusive and subject to stringent protection laws. Rather, the debate should be about is being done with the analysis results. An example is given of a hospital. If a hospital uses patiënt data to analyse readmissions, with the objective of improving health care this should be OK. Still, in this case data must be anonymised, secured, and used in aggregated form. But if that patient data is used for profiling and submitted to insurance companies, in order to differentiate policy rates a line is crossed. This example illustrates different ways in which personal data is used.

* To draw a comparison, using personal data to improve *current* customer experience should be ok (also, in this example provided that customer have given consent). It becomes different when such data and its analysis is used for new incentives and promotions; especially events or proposals customers didn't ask for. Then it may become intrusive.

* finally, the discussion about data ownership. It find this troublesome. In the case of a retailer, who owns the data seems to me a difficult question. There's a tendency to say that data remains the customer's. But didn't the customer engage in a transaction with the retail company? Goods were exchanged for - at least money. I think the (legal) question in this case, is whether the personal information the customer provided in the transaction was also legally exchanged, i.e. the ownership of that data / information was exchanged. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know the answer. But for governance purposes privacy debates, getting some clarification on this point is most welcome.

Great and important topic. Hope my contribution helps.


George Dinwiddie

When I first signed up for a grocery store loyalty card (so I would qualify for the sale prices I previously got), I signed up as "Fred Flintstone." Eventually they enhanced their system to show the name to the cashier, and my wife got embarrassed to be called "Mrs. Flintstone." So, she got her own card. At least they didn't call her "Wilma."

I realize that they could track me as easily by the credit card I use. It irritates me to no end that my need for groceries makes them feel they have the right to keep a dossier on my purchases.

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