You Can’t Forget What You Can’t Remember

In order to forget something, first you need to remember it.  That simple premise will cause organizations a great deal of pain as consumer privacy legislation takes effect.

The concern about consumer data privacy is at an all-time high.  70% of Europeans are concerned about the reuse of their personal data.[1]  86% of Americans are concerned with data collection from internet browsing and how it is used to generate personalized banner advertisements.[2]   Their primary concern is how that data may be used for other purposes, or packaged and resold to other entities.  With data breaches and issues such as the NSA’s collection of private data making headlines each week, it’s no wonder that consumer sensitivity is heightened.

This will present a very large problem for companies, because law makers are starting to take action.  The European Union announced changes to the 1995 Data Protection Directive to take effect starting in 2014.[3]  It contains one very logical and innocent looking directive – “the right to be forgotten” which means that upon request from a consumer, an organization must delete all of their personal data.  That sounds simple.  It’s actually a wildly complex problem, because of the premise above – you cannot forget what you cannot remember.  And most organizations aren’t particularly good at remembering their customers.

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[1] Forrester Research.  EU Regulations And Public Opinion Shift The Scope Of Data Governance

by Henry Peyret, October 17, 2013

[2] Perfect Storm For Behavioral Advertising:

How The Confluence Of Four Events In 2009 May Hasten Legislation (And What This Means For Companies Which Use Behavioral Advertising) By:  Susan E. Gindin

[3] Forrester Research.  EU Regulations And Public Opinion Shift The Scope Of Data Governance

by Henry Peyret, October 17, 2013


About David Corrigan

I’ve spent my entire career helping clients utilize emerging technology to solve their customer data problems. I've always enjoyed solving abstract problems. I've worked with hundreds of companies to utilize new technology, plan and drive to a roadmap, and evangelize and drive momentum for their information projects. During the day, I work on product strategy and marketing for @InfoTrellis, and I'm busy trying to disrupt the customer data and analytics market so that organizations can finally understand every single one of their customers. After hours, I like to take photographs, read, write, practice yoga, or watch soccer - Manchester United and Toronto FC are my teams of choice. Follow me on Twitter @DCorrigan or on LinkedIn at

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