Yesterday, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill published an essay on AdAge.com that calls on data brokers to join — or, rather, establish — an initiative called "Reclaim Your Name." The goal of the program would be to provide a single portal where consumers could see what data the industry has collected about them, provide options to opt in and out, and to correct data that might be inaccurate.
While the commissioner's article is a bit heavy on the "big data" rhetoric, her point is well taken: We have entered an era where the volume of data that individuals make available about themselves — often inadvertently — is increasing daily. Unfortunately, guidelines for how marketers and the larger data industry collect and use personal data are in short supply. This conflict is one of the major challenges that our industry faces in the coming decade: How can brands excel in the age of the customer if they're constantly under scrutiny about their privacy and data practices?
Acxiom, one of the world's largest data brokers, recently launched its own version of the kind of portal Commissioner Brill calls for. AboutTheData.com lets individuals see a subset of the data Acxiom knows about them, provides correction and opt-out opportunities, and aims to provide consumers with education about the data industry as a whole.
During our eBusiness Forum next week, I'm sitting down with Scott Howe, Acxiom's CEO, for a candid discussion about the portal, its successes (and failures) so far, and where he plans to take the service over the next few years. So, I want to know: If you could ask Scott one question about the portal, what would it be?
Post it in the comments below, or tweet me: Tweet to @fatemehx2. I plan to pose the top questions during our live discussion on November 5. I hope you can join us at the event, or, if you can't be with us in person, that you'll follow along with the discussion on Twitter via the #FORRForum hashtag.