#6 Champions of Digital Trust with Arielle Garcia

15 Dec 2023

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In our sixth episode, we speak to Arielle Garcia, founder of ASG Solutions who left a prominent role as a privacy and responsibility officer in a global media agency to drive change in the industry's unchecked data practices.

Watch Full Episode HERE

Full Transcript:

Who are you and why should we trust you?

My name is Arielle Garcia I recently founded ASG Solutions which is an advisory and consulting firm focused on privacy responsible data use and and helping marketers drive sustainable growth through responsible practices and people should trust me because I recently very very loudly quit my job I was previously privacy and responsibility officer at worldwide which is a global media agency I quit my job via oped and in that oped I talk about the fact that you know the industry is just desperately clinging to a status quo of unchecked and unregulated data collection and use and facing insurmountable competing interests and and and conflicting loyalties that keep them clinging to that status quo and so I left in order to be able to use my voice in able in order to be able to be part of the solution and to have the Independence that I believe is required to drive that change that's incredible and we were just talking before you joined Lydia about exactly that because we've both spent a lot of time in the media industry on the adtech side and yeah all power to you so second question.

How do you or your organization contribute to trust in the digital world? You have spoken about it, but I'd love to hear a bit more.

Yeah so I've been thinking a lot about this and I mentioned before that one of the key reasons that I felt the need to leave is to be able to use my voice as as I deem fit so one of the the areas that I'm focused on right now is what I'm calling harnessing the power of sunlight this can happen within organizations as well right like fostering true education and awareness around not just privacy as a compl compliance imperative but responsible data use from from the standpoint of the impact that it has on people now what I'm trying to do is raise that awareness more broadly and so that can take many forms right in part that's what I'm doing through my consultancy work in part that's what I'm doing through my writing which I intend to do more of but the the the purpose of that is really to Foster broader dialogue and bring awareness to things that people especially within the ad industry just aren't thinking about right it's not it's not something that they're that they're thinking about day-to-day you know there's a tendency within the advertising industry in particular to focus on the intent of what they're doing versus the impact that it has on people on Society on Democracy right and I know that it's it can be uncomfortable for marketers for agencies     to understand the role that they play in some of these harms right but that's something that's really critical for for us to move forward and so what I'm trying to do there is to raise awareness start that conversation and and keep it going in order to to get us to a place where we where there's moment for finding solutions that is that is excellent.

If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing that you would change in today's digital world? I think we did touch on it, but have you got anything else?

I'm gonna cheat and have one and a half because the one doesn't work without the other half so I would say banning surveillance advertising  but that has to be paired with breaking up or heavily regulating big Tech the reason I say that is because the devil's in the details right  when when you say surveillance advertising and there and the large dominant platforms are the ones that are that have positioned themselves to have first first party access to everyone's data one of the things that I like to say around this I actually reiterated this in my oped is you know we talk about the notice and choice regime but I would love to understand what choice people actually have today like what does Choice look like does it mean not using your map app does it mean not having a phone does it mean not using your credit card like they actually have no choice right and so those two things need to need to be hand inand the reason that I think that banning surveillance advertising is what's critical is that commercial data collection and use the same data collection and use that underpins the entire digital economy is is the data collection in use that also causes harm that is causing Publishers to struggle that is causing democracy to die so Ithink that these things are all interconnected and the most impact thing that could happen is a ban on surveillance advertising and I will say like at the same time I've watched it really ingrain some of the backwards incentive structures right so I I was at an event last week and the way I characterized it was marketers have gotten to a point where they're paying for bad data to reach fake people on unsafe websites while democracy dies you know and there's this like illusion of Performance Based on metrics that are that are that aren't telling the true story that prop all of this up and so while it sounds like what I'm saying would would make it more difficult for marketers that's not actually the case right this is about deconstructing an illusion that has been just as harmful for marketers and their investment as it has been for their customers and the society that we all live in.

How can people find out more about what you're doing? Where can they get hold of you?

Reach out to me I'm on LinkedIn Arielle Garcia, I'm at Twitter and I answer every message and honestly since I resigned in September my first priority has been talking to as many people as I can, both to understand more perspectives, having been on the buy side of the ecosystem it's been really beneficial to also hear the sell side perspective as well as you know, work out how to help people come up with solutions that benefit the entire ecosystem, so reach out to me I'm happy to chat.

That's incredible Arielle thank you so much Lydia anything you want to leave us with no other than I hope we will continue to work together because I think we'll have a lot work and a lot of common interests and a lot of stuff to do so let's get it done.