One of the major themes here this year is privacy and data protection. The conversation is centred around the key SXSW “showpieces” of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange however it feels like it is seeping into many of the other presentations in one way or another.

It is a fascinatingly complex, and at times frustrating, subject to try and get your head around with both extreme sides of the argument ie.  total government control or complete freedom of information clearly untenable positions…… and so the inevitable tug of war for the middle ground begins.

This morning’s virtual interview with a white bearded Julian Assange, not surprisingly, battled hard for releasing control. The dangers from overzealous government surveillance and a range privacy breaches were a focus for a composed, but at times rambling, Assange.

The interview was conducted via Skype and there were a few technical issues that detracted somewhat from the experience – The audio to Assange from the conference failed (allegedly hacked!!) and meant questions had to be typed through which turned it into more of a monolog than an interview.

For us as a marketers, we rely on detailed information from our consumers to be able to present targeted experiences and consumers in the main have been comfortable with allowing access to this data. This was based on their assumption that there was little to no downside but i get a sense that this is starting to change. People are going to get more guarded, they are going to limit access to brands and we are going to have to be very careful with how we communicate with people when we have this information.


See more of The Royals’ coverage at SXSW Live and Fresh, a collaboration with B&T.

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