Q&A with Nielsen Privacy Ambassador

April 23, 2019 Ginna Hall

As a privacy-conscious organization, Nielsen is committed to protecting consumers’ personal data and maintaining a robust privacy and data protection compliance program. As part of this ongoing commitment, Nielsen’s Privacy team has assembled a network of Nielsen associates across business/product lines, functional areas, and geographies to act as Privacy “Ambassadors” at Nielsen.

We recently spoke with Brian Midili, Director, Client Strategy and Analytics, who acts as a Privacy Ambassador at Nielsen, about the Privacy Ambassador Program, privacy at Nielsen, and his thoughts on the evolving privacy landscape.

Q: What can you tell us about the Privacy Ambassador Program at Nielsen?

Brian: With consumer privacy being a top priority for Nielsen, the Program is intended to promote greater privacy and data protection awareness internally at the company. In addition to helping to drive the implementation of Nielsen’s privacy and data protection-related policies and standards, the Privacy Ambassadors help to foster and enhance communications between Nielsen’s team of internal privacy professionals and all parts of our global organization with respect to activities and operations that involve the handling of personal data.    

Q: What are some specific things that you do in your role as a Privacy Ambassador?

Brian: As a Privacy Ambassador, I help raise awareness about privacy and data protection and  promote the principles of Privacy by Design within my business/product line. As someone who is very familiar with certain product and service offerings within our marketing effectiveness portfolio, I also provide input to the Nielsen Privacy team on privacy-related issues and risks. It’s been super educational, informative, and enjoyable.

Q:  How did Nielsen approach compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Brian: The EU’s adoption of GDPR has resulted in some major changes to the regulatory landscape for data protection and privacy. As part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, accountability, and the responsible stewardship of the data that we handle, in the time leading up to the GDPR’s enforcement date, we built on the existing foundation that we had for our privacy and data protection compliance program to ensure that applicable obligations under the GDPR were satisfied. This included, among other things, documenting our data processing activities and data flows, revising our privacy notices to incorporate the required disclosures under the GDPR, and implementing processes to give effect to the new and broader rights of data subjects.   

Q: What are your thoughts on the evolving privacy landscape?

Brian: With the emergence of new digital technologies, safeguarding one’s personal data and privacy is a priority for consumers. In the online environment, in particular, it’s important that consumers are confident that their personal data and privacy are protected.  

I think that recently-adopted privacy and data protection laws, such as the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which will become effective next year, are a step in the right direction. For consumers to be able to request access to or deletion of their data, for example, goes a long way towards allowing consumers to have more control over their personal data. It also helps businesses to gain consumers’ trust and confidence.

Q: How do you think the CCPA will change privacy regulation in the U.S.?

Brian: The CCPA already has triggered the introduction of several other state bills with similar requirements, and I think it’s increasingly likely that we will have a federal U.S. privacy law at some point. There’s been a big push by some in the media and marketing industries to pass federal privacy legislation, including the IAB, in order to avoid a patchwork of state privacy laws. It will be interesting to see how things continue to progress in this area.  

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