The major ad agencies are already major data aggregators and are on the way to broader levels of data use than ever. Are they ready to be responsible custodians of this data? Hiring a Chief Privacy Officer is not a magic bullet, but it is hard to see how a major enterprise can have a handle on the challenges of navigating law, client needs and consumer sentiment in multiple jurisdictions without a senior executive empowered to focus directly on data issues.
WPP has been relying on Kantar Group privacy lead George Pappachen for companywide initiatives, including working with the Future of Privacy Forum and the coalition of industry groups to develop privacy icons. We have seen ads that Omnicom has placed seeking a senior privacy lawyer. We hope the other major agencies also recognize the challenges posed by the flood of data now available to them and the concerns that government, advocates and consumers have about trustworthy online practices.