If data is the new oil, is consumer consent the refinery?

The final session to wrap up a fascinating week of talks here at Innovation week 2017 was titled Data is the New Oil.

Featuring Nicholas Oliver, founder, People.io & Rory Donnelly, CEO, Digi.me, the session questioned the future of data privacy and control in a world where data has become so valuable it is deemed the new oil.

Taking the oil analogy further, Donnelly highlighted that like the oil industry in the early days, the power of data has been concentrated into the hands of too few. It is time to put the power back into the hands of the people.

Although unlike the oil industry, Donnelly claimed, the pace at which the world of data and with it the issues of privacy and audience consent are evolving is at a pace so rapid, regulation can’t keep up. GDPR, coming in 2018, he explained, is the first time in 20 years since we’ve had a refresh of the data regulations.

Both Oliver and Donnelly run businesses with future-facing propositions that put consumers back in control of their own data. Not only does it give them the power to decide what they will share and with whom, it rewards consumers for doing so.

Are consumers the data controllers of the future? No one can say for sure but Oliver and Donnelly are already a step ahead by asking the question and challenging us to consider the answer.


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