Warning on social media data use

## Warning on social media data use**We are warning dealers to review their use of social media collateral provided by consumers in all areas of their business or risk falling foul of both copyright and data protection laws.**Data protection legislation requires that commercial operators use individuals’ personal information only for the purposes consented to by that individual. Any use of data, especially in any pre-purchase or sales prospecting activity may be especially vulnerable to breaching regulations. As an example, dealers or their suppliers mining social media profiles must have in place the requisite licences and explicit consents from each individual before it can be used. These need to be simple and transparent ensuring individuals know how their personal data will be used. Using an individual’s personal information from their social media presence may be in the public domain, but it is not available for commercial profiling purposes without permission. Nor should a dealer use an image taken from a person’s social media presence in their marketing activity. In November 2014, the Government’s Science and Technology Committee expressed concerns that social media users may not be fully aware of how their data can be used by websites and apps given the excessive length and complexity of the terms and conditions that companies make users agree to. According to the Committee, these contracts are not fit as a mechanism for demonstrating that users have given informed consent for some of the ways companies are now exploiting personal data.**In highlighting the privacy risks, Codeweavers Sales Director Shaun Harris observes\; ***“In many ways social media has overtaken regulation but dealer’s need to be alive to the very real risks of using such data inappropriately. Using information available on social media sites, such as location, hobbies, interests and professional activity available in the public domain to create a buyer profile may seem a smart marketing approach, but it carries with it a very real regulatory risk of breaching the UK’s data protection laws.”*Codeweavers is calling upon dealers to review their use of social media derived information internally and by their suppliers who may be providing information to them. Particular attention needs to be paid to what the Information Commissioners office classes as the most sensitive personal data. Information on social media will inevitably contain elements that are covered under this interpretation.**Harris closes by noting, ***“Having sought legal opinion to clarify the position, we have been very clearly advised that an explicit consent from the customer is the only way to use the type of information that might be mined from social media under current legislation. Certainly, it seems very clear that just inserting a notification in a privacy policy or terms and conditions would not be acceptable to the Commissioner.”*


By: Codeweavers - 22/07/15

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