6 steps for organizations to better protect customer data

Register now

The Internet Society is disappointed, but not surprised, at the news of the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica revelations. This incident is simply the natural outcome of today's data-driven economy that puts businesses and others first, not users.

Mark Zuckerberg's apology is a first step, but it's not enough. The seriousness of the revelations call for more than mere apologies. Change is needed.

Society needs higher standards for transparency and ethics when it comes to the handling of our information. Anyone who collects data must be accountable to their users and to society. As we have seen this week, data abuse and mishandling can have grave consequences for both individuals and society.

The Internet Society is deeply committed to an Internet that is trusted by its users. In a connected world, everyone is affected by everybody else's actions. Incidents like this contribute to an overall climate of declining trust in the Internet and threaten its economic value.

We recommend that those who collect, use or share our data:

  1. Make sure policies about data handling reflect our interests first. As their users, we should be their first priority
  2. They must restrict and monitor any access or use of our personal data. Don't collect our data if you can't manage it.
  3. Be transparent about how they share our personal data, with whom and why.
  4. Set clear rules for handling and sharing our personal data and show us how those rules are being enforced.
  5. If our data is going to be collected, make it easy for us to control what will be collected, how it will be used, and who it will be shared with.
  6. Ask us to opt-in. Don't require us to opt-out.

If we are to continue to benefit from the value the Internet can bring, we must trust our services and platforms. Businesses must do better.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.