Part 2: Everything You Wanted to Know About Data Privacy But Were Afraid to Ask
TRU Staffing Partners May 19, 2022 at 6:15 AM
Recently, TRU Staffing Partners Founder and CEO Jared Coseglia was featured on The Art Lewis Show, a talk-radio program that is part of the WSGW Morning Team in Saginaw, Michigan. Art Lewis has been a radio personality for more than four decades, doing talk shows as far back as 1965. On this broadcast, Coseglia and Lewis sat down to discuss data brokers, data privacy, data security, online privacy, and what all of it means to the average consumer.
Missed Part 1 of the interview? Click here to read it.
Art Lewis: Jared, as a little background, how did TRU Staffing Partners come about?
Jared Coseglia: I started TRU back in 2010 and was part of the ediscovery business, which is supporting business from the electronic records perspective. I started to see that data usage and data protection were going to be huge verticals. Then in 2014, a pivotal moment in cybersecurity happened when the Sony hacks occurred. We thought it was a nation-state or North Korea and did a lot of research. TRU developed a lot of knowledge in that area and very shortly after added Data Privacy as a vertical. What became very clear to me, around 2015 or 2016, before GDPR rolled out in Europe in 2018, is that there was a lack of complexity and regulation around the use of data. I knew this was going to lead to an incredibly high demand for professionals who understood both the legal and the technology areas necessary to consult, advise, and become authorities on data privacy and protection.
AL: Are those data privacy folks available out there? Are there enough people out there to come into data privacy industry verticals like this?
JC: Well, yes and no. There a lot of wonderfully talented people who have been in this business. They may have touched privacy on a tertiary level but there is still going to be an explosive growth of job opportunities in this vertical. I just returned from Washington, DC, where the biggest privacy conference of the year was led by a keynote from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. It goes to show you how this industry is in the spotlight for big tech companies in America. Particularly while it is an industry that remains highly unlegislated. As a result, we’re finding that more and more people are becoming aware of and attracted to the industry. They come from all different walks of life. The amazing thing about data privacy is that data privacy touches all parts of a business – (different from cybersecurity, which is a very technical discipline). It is crucial to know how you are using or wielding data, whether it’s your employee data in human resources or customer data wielded by marketing. You need to understanding how you use data and how to win over the trust of regulators in order to influence the laws at every level. There is room for professionals everywhere from lobbying to technical development to engineers to find way to move into privacy.
AL: I want to clarify again this motion of security versus privacy. I want to give you my examples and see how close I am to being accurate. A security specialist will come up with ways to prevent me from getting malware, being hacked, and all of that. Privacy specialists deal in the legal use of my data even though I don’t want them to do it. How close am I?
JC: Let me give you a metaphor. It’s the best way for me to describe the difference. Security is like the bars on your window. Privacy is like the shades. We don’t want anyone getting in and there are only so many ways to put bars on the windows to make sure people don’t get in. The different types of data privacy areas are like the kinds of shades you put on your windows, what level of opacity – can anyone see in, are they pulled open, what do they look like. There are so many shades of gray when it comes to how you want to treat your window dressings. Part of the reason that all of this flexibility exists is because of the lack of legislation. Your assessment is absolutely accurate. I love this metaphor because it’s a really simple way of separating the two concepts.
AL: So if I am sitting here in front of my computer, do I have the power on my computer to pull down a black shade and say no to the use of data?
JC: Yes, if you have the ability and know-how to do that. It may not be a centralized solution where you click a button and the whole computer pulls a screen down. You may need to go into every web browser and application you use to change the settings to bring down the shade. But here’s the complexity: once you do that, it’s only good for that moment and then any future browsing you do. There are still years of past data already out there. There is a process we call DSAR (Data Subject Access Requests). This is something most consumers (particularly in California under the CCPA), are allowed to do. They can reach out to companies and demand they delete all personal, stored data. There are entire practice groups inside companies that are dedicated to receiving those requests and acting on them. Obviously, the bigger the company, the more requests and the more people they have. That’s all part of the process, it’s not just on your devices. You actually need to go back and communicate with the companies that hold the data and request that it be deleted.
AL: So when I look at that widget and I suddenly start getting widget ads, has that widget company paid to be included in this data brokering concept?
JC: They paid for something because that widget advertisement is getting in front of you. The question is – what are they getting in return? That company may not be getting any of your data but they might be getting click rates. Those data brokers track how many people clicked on it, what they clicked on and for how long. And then you have to consider if geolocation is part of their package they buy. Are they tracking where people are clicking? Are they getting data back from the marketing company that shows where most clicks originate from? Then the company could spend more advertising money in those locations. All of that information is part of a package that the end company pays for. It’s hard to determine what the nature of that contract is for each consumer.
AL: If Europe has seen the light and produced legislation to protect data, what’s holding up the US?
JC: Well, we could debate a bit about whether Europe really has seen the light or not, and if their legislation is really best for consumers. Many American companies would argue that gathering data in this manner allows companies to get the actual products that consumers want in front of them for the best possible price at the right time more effectively. Instead of having to pack up the car and go shopping, advertisers are trying to come to you and offer you what you want. The question isn’t really is Europe ahead of the US, the issue really is what are we as a society going to choose to define our culture with as it relates it our digital footprint? Do we believe that our digital footprint is a human right as it relates to the ownership of that data, or is it aggregated for the public domain?
AL: Am I safe to assume that Amazon is a player in this field?
JC: Of course, you are. You’re safe to assume that I’m a player in this field. This is how marketing is done now. To ignore that this is the new world order as it relates to advertising is to ignore the potential of new business.
AL: Realistically, if I sit on my computer at home and deny all cookies, and I erase all cookies, I know it doesn’t erase what was gathered in the past, does it stop the forward movement?
JC: To some extent, yes. You would also have to look at what you are doing on your personal devices as well. All devices have their own settings and collect data in different ways based on how the manufacturer set up the default settings for privacy on the devices. As I mentioned, Apple has built in some very aggressive settings. It caused a decline of almost $10 billion in estimated revenue for Facebook, a digital rival of Apple, and those new policies by Apple dropped the Facebook stock price by 50%.
Stay tuned for the third and final part of this interview next week! Be sure not to miss the post by signing up for instant notifications here: