The exploding use of smartphones, social networks, and cloud computing has resulted in increased ability – and desire – to collect and combine data. Companies have been amassing troves of information about their consumers, and this activity is on the radars of regulators. In developing compliant “big data” campaigns, companies will inevitably end up looking at some core legal factors:

  1. What disclosures were made to the consumer? Both by the company that is seeking to append big data, as well as any representations that were made to the consumer by others who put the consumer information into the big data stream.
  2. Was the information to be shared collected in compliance with the laws? This can be a particular concern for global campaigns, where national laws may restrict what can be collected from a consumer.
  3. Are there legal restrictions on sharing the information? This can be a concern for companies in regulated industries, where some laws may restrict – or greatly curtail – the ability to combine information.

Thinking through these steps can help companies as they develop programs to combine information from a variety of resources.