Who really owns events data?

People are taking back control of their data

Personal data is the future oil of our digital economy, so it is no wonder that users are starting to wake up the enormous value of the trail they are leaving behind themselves as they surf the net.

I’ve been following the launch of two companies who are helping users protect themselves from being effectively stalked around the web and even, to profit from the use of their own data by third-parties.

Gener8 and Brave are two platforms that operate in very similar ways, offering rewards to their users.

Brave is a browser platform that I’ve become particularly enamoured with. Not only is it faster and uses less battery (double win), it also allows users to ‘take back control’ of their data usage. They claim “internet giants grow rich, while publishers go out of business”, something which is incredibly well documented in the news.

Gener8 goes one-step further. It allows user to protect themselves or choose to earn a cut from the profits their own data is generating. It’s pitch on Dragon’s Den has been viewed over 517,000 times.

There has been much debate around data ownership recently, a topic that is becoming hotly contested, particularly in the events world where data can be valuable to a number of different groups such as organisers, exhibitors and sponsors.

Some believe the event organisers own the attendees’ data, while others argue the data should belong to the exhibitors. Some would argue that to access the event itself, there needs to be a certain element of data sharing - of course there does, but we need to make people aware of how that data Is being used and why you're asking for it, something we're covering in my session at Event Tech Live with Jo-Anne Kelleway of Freeman and Stephanie Selesnick from International Trade Information.

I think companies like Brave and Gener8 would disagree with both of these arguments but whichever camp you stand in, it’s fair to say that your attendees are becoming more aware of the data that’s collected from their registration and attendance and how it is used.

So what can we do to better equip users?

Marketing campaigns collect a lot of data from event attendees, from tracking their activity on websites through to registration forms and multiple questions. It might be worth pointing out that ‘data minimisation’ is actually one of the seven key principles behind GDPR and organisers need to be ready to be challenged on where their attendees’ data is stored, how it is stored and, essentially, why it is being collected.

It is time attendees were rewarded for sharing their data. Twigged makes this process transparent, allowing attendees to see and understand which event is using their data at the click of a button.

Is It time for our industry to be more transparent with attendee data?