I think it would be safe to say that we've all sleep walked into this week's Cambridge Analytica debacle, due to the huge levels of trust invested in Facebook, and our own unchecked desire for convenience over security.
Who hasn't defaulted to a Facebook profile short cut when faced with a tediously slow app/website log-in procedure? I personally couldn't tell you how many apps on my phone or cached sites on my laptop continue to be accessed by a Facebook log-in. It's always sat uncomfortably at the back of my mind, the question as to what exactly the retailer or website owner is going to then do with my data (name, where I live, email address etc). Or who benefits at all commercially from this lightening-quick exchange of information across connecting APIs.
The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica/Trump axis has finally demonstrated what can allegedly happen when our data isn't protected safely, in a far more urgent fashion than any sleep-inducing GDPR session I've attended in the past year.
One of the reasons none of us have stopped to properly get to grips with GDPR, is because it has been allowed to be run by lawyers, who are the last people one should ever entrust to lead any kind of process, let alone ethical imperative. Lawyers revel in obfuscation, indeed it's in their best interests to make the world more complicated when they're paid by the hour as opposed to a fixed price. It won't be the business community and politicians slowing down Brexit, but the slowly drawn quill of the fence-sitting lawyer.
Of course, thinking about our own business in Twice Reply, where we're harvesting big data to uncover better insights that help power an improved customer experience, we don't even need this 'first party' data (as data people call it). Anonymised data is perfectly sufficient to uncover powerful insights which can lead to revenue growth, operational cost savings and improved customer satisfaction.
This is a wake up call. Businesses need to get the lawyers out of the room now, and discuss the ethics of their data analytics programmes in human terms that everyone understands, champion the use of anonymised data, and find practical ways of ensuring that no 'first party' data is ever mishandled again. Fast.