Before Commissioner Brill joined him onstage, Mr. Urbach reminded his audience of more than 600 leading lawyers, brand marketers and policymakers just how fast "Big Data" continues to grow. "Ninety percent of the data created over all of human history was created in the last two years," according to Mr. Urbach.
"Businesses have become data vacuum cleaners. It's important that legal concerns do not go unnoticed."
Commissioner Brill stressed that those concerns can never be an afterthought and discussed the FTC's recent privacy report and its recommendations around "privacy by design" where brands are asked to consider privacy issues at the conceptual stage rather than to treat them as an add-on.
When asked by Mr. Urbach for an overall impression of how the industry is meeting these challenges, she provided high marks. "I am remarkably encouraged by the amount of attention companies are giving to our recommendations," said Commissioner Brill. "Companies are bringing in people who specialize in these issues and creating Chief Privacy Officers. Privacy is being incorporated at the most fundamental levels."
Mr. Urbach and Commissioner Brill touched on a variety of topics including the need to consider what they termed "the context of the interaction" and the manner in which data is ultimately used; as well as privacy concerns around nascent technologies like facial recognition tools and new-to-market apps.
"The very fact that Commissioner Brill is participating in this forum for this audience demonstrates the need for our industry to be collaborative," said Mr.
Urbach. "We're all encouraged that the FTC recognizes the efforts the industry continues to make in this area. Today's marketplace is the most pluralistic we've seen. Power and innovation are decentralized and there is an increased access to information. All of that is good, but there is a dark side and we have to work together to protect the public."
Industry professionals and the general public are invited to keep up with the conference highlights at www.pmalink.com, on Twitter #pmalaw or by downloading the PMA Law 2012 app at the iTunes store.
About the PMA
Founded in 1911, the New York based PMA is the national non-profit trade association dedicated to the industry of marketing disciplines that motivate behavior, activate response and build brands. Representing $1trillion in sales, these disciplines include promotion marketing, digital marketing, shopper/retailer marketing, sponsorship and experiential marketing. The organization's membership is comprised of Fortune 500 companies, top marketing agencies, law firms, retailers, service providers and academia, representing thousands of brands worldwide. More information is available at www.pmalink.org.