Spotify, Thomson, Data Breaches and Data Protection


It seems that hardly a day goes by without a data security breach making the headlines. Spotify have changed their terms and conditions, much to the chagrin of many users.  The holiday company Thomson sent an email, in error, disclosing the data of almost 500 people. As for the currently high profile dating website Ashley Madison, probably the less said about that, the better!

Spotify’s notification to change their terms and conditions was met with a user outcry; Spotify would like to access users’ location, voice, contacts and photos to ensure “the best possible user experience”. If you are not happy, you can of course opt out. However, if you agree to the new terms, it has been reported that it is up to the user to ensure that people listed in the contacts list on their handset are happy for their phone number to be shared with the music platform. Whether, at some point in the future that stands up in court, I’m guessing only time will tell.

The new EU Data Protection Laws are clear, but have been set out for businesses and organisations as opposed to individuals. Companies are having to change the way in which they work. Marketing teams may now have to ensure their target list has opted-in, meaning a change from outbound to inbound marketing will ensure successful returns on your marketing. No doubt, during the transition, there will be a few more breaches and some new names making the headlines.

So how can you help ensure your company isn’t a casualty of the not-so new and upcoming legislation?

  • Clean your data. Now is a good time to define a process for managing your data. By having a process for data management, you can simplify and streamline how your data sources are managed and make sure your data remains clean and compliant. This is particularly crucial if you’re using CRM and/or marketing automation systems.
  • Build trust with customers. Promote the fact that your company takes Data Protection seriously. Having a transparent best practice data management process, based around opt in, will build trust with your customers and provide your business with a competitive advantage.
  • Improve your marketing ROI. Invest in creating great content that your target audience can engage with. Make content available for download, for example or write a series of blogs, rather than one blog on one topic. Share via social media to help you expand your data, cleanly and effectively. This exponentially helps you build clean data, reducing the data degradation effect from just sending out emails.
  • Data is a valuable commodity. Take the time to analyse the data that you have, at regular intervals. Segmenting your data and targeting emails and content to smaller sections of your database not only produces better results than sending en masse, getting control of your data means you can start to extract customer and market insight from it

As organisations large and small get to grips with this legislation, though it may seem a daunting prospect, there are opportunities for businesses to gain competitive advantage, to build trust with customers and to increase marketing ROI.

As businesses meet the challenges of the new ruling, it’s likely that data breaches will continue to make headlines.

The latest data breaches raise some interesting questions, from the perspective of both businesses and individuals. Are the recipients of Thomson’s email responsible for not disclosing the information they were inadvertently sent? Spotify’s request to access users’ location, voice, contacts and photos is probably only the beginning of a long conversation.

It will be interesting to see at which point, and to what extent, individuals become responsible for the data of others. Until then, organisations are responsible, but practical guidance is available to help you establish best practice processes that not only keep you compliant, but also help you improve your marketing.

Be a Data Protection Rockstar!