Mastercard seeks to create collaborative data standards

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Responding to the fast pace of payments technology and its impact on privacy and data security, Mastercard plans to recruit a range of companies, educational institutions and agencies to produce a set of best practices.

The card brand is positioning the Data Responsibility Imperative as a “dialogue” based on a set of principles that guide data ownership and protection. These include security and privacy; accountability; transparency and control; “integrity”; innovation; and social impact.

Data and privacy have become integral to the conversation as e-commerce has grown, whether it’s about Facebook’s Libra project or the trend toward new types of automation that stress consumer-driven data control or digital ID.

“Unfortunately, we’re in a position in the industry of not having a rulebook or a guide of how data should be used around innovation,” JoAnn Stonier, chief data officer at Mastercard, said in an interview. “We want to set out principles about how people should be treated in a digital economy and how organizations need to respond.”

Mastercard is not positioning the standards as a replacement for compliance, and Stonier said the goal is to engage with companies rather than produce a set of conditions companies must meet to work with Mastercard. Stonier would not comment on Libra, though Mastercard says the data initiative predates the card brand’s decision to revoke its participation in Facebook’s cryptocurrency project.

“Different organizations will have different ways of working,” Stonier said. “Health care or a government agency or an academic institution may have different needs and different ways to protect data.”

Mastercard named two parties, New York University and the Future of Privacy Forum, that have voiced support for the initiative.

“Data responsibility is the next step of corporate social responsibility,” Stonier said. “Organizations need to take a step toward that.”

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