Not long ago, people browsed the web or shopped online without even considering the bread crumb trails of personal information they left for marketers. But data privacy has become a concern for most consumers.

As heightened awareness drives such changes in perception, with increasing support from legislators and platforms like Google, media agencies are rethinking their relationship with customer information. More and more, these agencies are investing in ways to guide clients beyond data privacy to embrace a higher standard and earn consumer trust through data ethics.

Time to reassess
“The past couple of years, we’ve been living in this age where data represents a competitive advantage. There’s been a race to utilize more and more,” Mindshare executive director, managing partner, customer strategy Brian DeCicco told Adweek.

Between recent and upcoming changes to regulations and individual platform changes, the time was ripe for reassessment.

“Consumers are more aware of their data, and we need to be responsible around the gift … [that] the consumer giving them their personal data is, and then manage that appropriately and maintain that trust,” GroupM global chief innovation officer Krystal Olivieri said.

While the agency has had frameworks around adherence to data privacy rules for some time, “we were finding [that] privacy regulation hasn’t kept pace with what we’re hearing from consumers about how they want us to use their data,” DeCicco said, with such consumer research informing the Data Ethics Compass tool GroupM and Mindshare created in partnership with client Unilever.

Cool or creepy?
IPG Mediabrands included data collections and use among the 10 principles in the Media Responsibility Principles it released last year.

“What we seek to do is operate in the spirit that the regulations are intended and what is in the best interest of the individual and what the individual would expect,” IPG Mediabrands global brand safety officer, UM chief digital officer Joshua Lowcock said.

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