On Tuesday, April 10, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a witness before a joint session of two Senate Committees — the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee. Basically, that means that Mark could potentially face almost half of Congress during his questioning period. There are 100 Senators in Congress and 44 of them serve on either of these two Committees. That’s a lot of potential questions.
While I write this blog post, the session is ongoing. It has been a zoo at the Capital so far during Mark’s visit.
In the past, I have felt like a broken record warning that privacy and data security will become a priority for policy discussions with policymakers. Most recently, I felt that there would be a strong reaction to the Equifax data breach. I have been wrong so far. However, this time it feels different. There is so much wound up tension and frustration on the part of participants. It is clear in my mind that something is bound to give sometime soon.
Senators are focused in the hearing about Facebook’s handling of user data. The specific issue of the day is how a firm based in England was able to use the data to target 87-million users with political messages during the last presidential election.
I continue to believe that privacy and data security represent a blind spot for participants in our industry. It is unclear if the coming crackdown on Silicon Valley will suck our members into a more robust regulatory regime surrounding privacy. However, I do know that the privacy space will continue to experience growing scrutiny. Now is a good a time as any to start taking customer privacy and data security seriously. Sooner or later, it is going to be at your doorstep anyway.
We will continue to monitor and report on developments as conditions merit. At minimum, be sure to pay attention to the news and developments surrounding Facebook’s visit to Capitol Hill.