Segment launches new GDPR compliance tools

The platform for managing first-party data will help its customers with the heavy lifting of forwarding end-user data requests to various marketing tools.

Are you ready for GDPR? Richard Hogg, global GDPR evangelist at IBM, discusses the progress, and lack of, being made by organizations in light of the upcoming GDPR enforcement date; how consumers might exercise their new rights; how AI and machine learning will help organizations comply and respond; and what job opportunities might exist as a result.

Once the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) take effect in Europe on May 25, companies will have to accommodate user requests to delete or suppress their data. That's easier said than done when a business uses a whole bevy of marketing tools that rely on customer data.

To take on this challenge, the customer data management platform Segment is launching new tools that let a company make a single deletion or suppression request -- rather than having to put in a request with each and every marketing and advertising firm that's handling their data.

Businesses can manage their end-user requests via a simple user interface or an API, and they'll be forwarded to supported Segment integrations.

Also: Everything you need to know about the new general data protection regulations

"We're driving towards a vision where Segment can help our customers -- since we're the single point of data collection about their end users -- to honor the data subject requests... that users make across their entire customer stack," Chris Sperandio, Segment's product lead for privacy & compliance, told ZDNet.

Segment announced back in November that it would enable customers to delete an end user's data from wherever it lived on the Segment platform. Yet at that time, many of Segment's marketing partners hadn't committed to doing the same. Over the course of the last few months, Segment has talked to several partners now building out this functionality.

"Tools that handle customer data are splitting into two camps," Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt said. "There's a relatively small camp that's just leaving Europe entirely," he continued, pointing to the company Drawbridge as an example. "The majority of companies that do handle user data for their customers are moving very quickly now as we approach the deadline to offer APIs that allow this. In the next month or so there's going to be a flurry of companies becoming compliant."

Meanwhile, Sperandio said, Segment customers are taking a hard look at the way they build consent into their user experiences, as well as the ways they handle user data on the back end.

As a platform that strictly focuses on first-party data management, rather than buying and selling consumer data to third parties, Segment welcomes regulations like GDPR, as well as the increased scrutiny of consumer data policies in the US and elsewhere, Sperandio said.

"What we're trying to do is help our customers build better and more enduring experiences for their customers," he said. "We want to foster a culture where that doesn't come at the expense of customer trust or privacy."