Data Privacy and Ethics

An Open Letter
Dear DAA Members and our colleagues in the analytics industry:

We are presenting the results of our first Data Privacy and Ethics Survey, a significant step in our three-year mission to help DAA navigate the intersecting realms of data, privacy, and ethics in web analytics.

In 2020, upon the request of the DAA Board, led at the time by Valerie Kroll and its representative for Data Privacy and Ethics, Aaron Maas, Melinda Byerley was invited to establish The Data Privacy and Ethics Task Force. Cory Underwood soon joined, and along with Amber Zaherchuk, the Task Force initiated its work.

Due to the complexity and uncertainty surrounding Data Privacy and Ethics, our initial focus was to establish a unified approach to our work. We developed a mission statement and a set of core values to guide our endeavors.

The Mission of the DAA Data Privacy and Ethics Task Force is to:

Identify, research, and advance the top data privacy and ethics issues through community participation and thought leadership in order to support data analytics practitioners with information, clarity, and best practices.

The core values for us as a Task Force are:
  • Accountability: We are responsible for our actions, aiming to provide value to DAA members while respecting local and rapidly changing laws.
  • Transparency: Our methodologies and decision-making processes are clear and accessible to all members
  • Balance: The DAA encompasses diverse stakeholders, including vendors, consultancies, brands, and sponsors. We strive for solutions considering all perspectives, acknowledging that views on Data Privacy and Ethics can vary due to economic interests and personal values.
  • Practicality: Despite the abstract nature of Data Privacy and Ethics, our members rely on us for practical assistance in their daily work. As a non-profit organization that relies upon volunteers and has limited resources, our solutions must be feasible to implement.
  • Discipline: We follow through on our promises, staying focused on our mission and vision.

In 2020, our initial focus was on enhancing the DAA's internal practices. Navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic and the unique needs of a small non-profit, we owe our progress to the dedicated volunteer team, including Courtney Fenstermaker and Mark Redfern, as well as the Implementation Task Force and DAA Executive Director Kimberly Mosley. Their collective efforts have helped DAA achieve a level of compliance befitting its operations.

Our scope has since broadened to include advocacy and education on Data Privacy and Ethics. We have maintained bi-weekly Zoom meetings on Wednesdays, persevering through all challenges, personal and global, for over three years. These spirited interactions have been a source of learning, laughter, and motivation, as well as occasional cupcakes!

This survey, conducted in late 2022, yielded invaluable insights from fellow web analytics professionals. We now have a better understanding of our members' points of view and needs. Despite predating the influence of ChatGPT, and the small sample size, we believe these survey findings gave us sufficient information to create a practical go-forward plan.

Through these findings and our plan, we aim to offer a fresh outlook on navigating the critical field of Data Privacy and Ethics. We hope the shared insights will provide comfort, knowing you're not alone in your challenges. And we hope it will inspire you to join the DAA-and us- in our work.

Our choices today will shape the digital world of tomorrow. Because we practitioners are the closest to the data, the Data Privacy and Ethics Task Force believes that the Digital Analytics Association has not only the opportunity but also the responsibility to demonstrate and uphold ethical data practices. Because of that expertise and experience, the DAA membership can be a powerful force to drive the adoption of ethical best practices in the use of marketing analytics. This survey underscores the significance of privacy and ethics in our work and the impact we can have in this area. We encourage you to delve into the survey results, reflect on their relevance to your work, and join the conversation on data privacy and ethics. Your voice matters, regardless of your experience level.

For DAA members, we urge you to consider joining the Data Privacy and Ethics Task Force or support it by volunteering for the Implementation Task Force. Your participation can directly shape the discourse and influence our industry's future.

If you're not a DAA member, we hope our work aids yours and inspires you to join us in shaping the future of our industry. Thank you for your commitment to ethical and privacy-conscious practices in web analytics. We eagerly anticipate your feedback, are excited to share our progress, and look forward to continuing this essential conversation with you.

Melinda Byerley, Fiddlehead Marketing
Cory Underwood, Search Discovery
Co-Chairs; Privacy and Ethics Task Force

Kimberly Mosley, Executive Director, Digital Analytics Association

Courtney Fenstermaker, InfoTrust LLC
Mark Redfern, Lexis-Nexis Risk Solutions
Michael Helbling, Stacked Analytics
Task Force Members