UpNext Series Presents:

Startups Beware: How to Prevent a July 1 Privacy Disaster

What you must know to avoid becoming a casualty of the user data wars.

Thursday, March 14, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Parisoma, 169 11th Street, San Francisco
$20 registration; $25 at the door

Moderator:  Rafe Needleman, Platform Advocate, Evernote


Matt Hogan, CEO, DataCoup

Brian Hayden Pascal, Fellow, Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society

Ted Hollifield, Partner, Alston & Bird

Mary Hodder, Co-founder, Customer Commons

Data ownership and privacy has always been a contentious topic in consumer services and mobile apps. Currently, it’s almost status quo for many Internet and mobile app companies to use personal data, not only to monetize, but also to develop products, build out customized features and improve other essential functions of their services. Without access to user data, many companies would have to change their entire business model. These days, some users aren’t just the targets for advertising, they are the advertising. The recent privacy fiasco by Instagram/Facebook has put the controversial issue and all its aspects front and center.

Under pressure to make a profit, Instagram/Facebook made a major mistake, hoping to exploit people’s photos for money by claiming ownership of users’ digital property. The immediate user and media backlash caused Instagram to retract its proposed changes. Other apps have broached on privacy (ie: Girls Around Me) by leveraging GPS data from cell phones to access and broadcast users’ precise locations, without their knowledge or consent.

Now the FTC is starting to apply more heat, recently, penalizing Facebook and Google for violating user privacy.

Based on many of these violations, legislators (particularly California) are now working on broad privacy legislation that would allow consumers to see how their online data is collected, used and sold, and give consumers the ability to have a say and stop such practices. The FTC has also recently that strengthened its enforcement of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, shoring up the protections, including by bringing geolocation, cookies (plug-ins) and behavioral targeting explicitly within the rules.

The unsettled nature of data ownership and privacy is due in large part to the fact that technology evolves at a breakneck pace.The issues at stake are bigger than just profit — it’s a dynamic mix of legality, brand reputation, technological advancement, customer relationships, and much more.

This panel will explore various issues around privacy and discuss what entrepreneurs need to consider about users’ private information and digital content:

  • What are the legal parameters around consumer data?
  • How is online data bought, sold and shared?
  • How does a startup negotiate the delicate balance of earning a profit, providing a meaningful service, and building a trusting relationship with users?
  • Should users have a say in the privacy policy, any changes to it, and when?
  • What is the best way to talk to users about proposed privacy or TOS changes?

Join us for an evening of lively point/counterpoint discussion moderated by Rafe Needleman. An esteemed panel of industry experts will offer invaluable perspectives that entrepreneurs need to know on this key topic. The event will conclude with an open Q&A to give attendees an opportunity to exchange ideas with the panel.

This event includes refreshments as well as a chance to mix and mingle with other entrepreneurs, VCs and movers and shakers from SF/Silicon Valley.