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New Ethical Commerce Alliance is participating in a new Ethical Commerce Alliance to inspire business members of the alliance to work with personal data in a compliant and ethical way. It is established by the Spanish company Empathy. Below is a Q and A with them.

  1. What is Empathy and how does it protect data compared to its main competitors? is a Search and Discovery platform for ecommerce businesses. Our solution for our customers goes beyond simply avoiding PII or user behavioural data. We create customised experiences that respect people because they have control over their affinities, preferences and online profiles with brands. Empathy Platform only reads and never writes these customer-owned assets they decide to share. Beautiful, insightful search results are possible while protecting people’s data.

We reject all trackers and never use cookies. Empathy doesn’t collect location data, IP addresses, device or browser information, neither image nor voice processing. The freedom of having no tracking banners of any kind and putting the individual back in control of the data allows us to restore trust in our customers’ clients.

  1. Has Empathy experienced that privacy is a competitive advantage? Also economically?

Yes, absolutely. Being as transparent as we can about what data is used in what context is key to establishing trust and putting the human behind the data in control. Trust and customer joy often result in customer loyalty. Besides, not collecting any personal or behavioural data liberates from potential data breaches and hence, liability. And most importantly, protecting privacy is also our way of taking responsibility within society as a company. Key customers like Vodafone or Carrefour have chosen Empathy Platform on the basis of Empathy’s privacy standpoint.

  1. Why is it setting up an Ethical Commerce Alliance?

The Ethical Commerce Alliance is a new organisation founded as an extension of our core principles: trust, understanding, and joy. Everybody within the company knows what that stands for, but we wanted to take that message beyond company boundaries and  reflect our purpose in society beyond our economic goals. Protecting privacy is not only a government policy or a legal matter alone: The industry has a responsibility too, and there is still a lot of room for improvement to achieve digital sovereignty and fairer and more diverse competition. And the ECA is building a network to work on those goals. 

  1. Will it be independent from Empathy?

The ECA has just launched, and we are still in the early stages. The further we progress, the more independence we will gain.

  1. The Alliance’s vision is ‘Individuals must hold the power’ — can you develop a bit on that? If this was the case in say, ten years, how would that work in our everyday lives?

We want to put people back in control of their personal information, meaning they maintain ownership of their data and the authority to decide how it’s used. It’s paramount you have the power, not the website you are visiting or, worse, the data brokers who purchase and resell your data.

We must ensure the highest protection possible for the most vulnerable form of data we have, personal data. When you, as an individual, decide who you share your data with and why, you can move around online with a better feeling of higher security and protection of your online identity. This approach to data autonomy restores trust and will eventually shift the power back to many, not just a few. Fundamentally, this will reduce bias, counter the widening social gap, and ultimately help secure our democracies.