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News headlines across the globe over recent weeks have highlighted a growing number of data privacy violations, recognizing data as a more valuable and powerful concept than ever before.

At the forefront of this scandal is Cambridge Analytica, the data analysis and strategic communications firm headquartered in London, UK. At our 2016 Concordia Annual Summit, we featured CEO Alexander Nix in a session titled ‘The Power of Big Data and Psychographics,’ exploring the role of big data in targeted communication and individualized advertising.

We wanted to host Mr. Nix in an effort to understand exactly what the company did for the campaign of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Mr. Nix had become noteworthy after he was one of the few to accurately predict Senator Cruz’s victory during the Iowa Caucus, which he won in an upset. Mr. Nix presented the case study of this work in his first-ever major public appearance.

Now, just three weeks since the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out, we continue to follow the story as it unfolds, with revelations highlighting the firm’s role in harvesting private information from more than 50 million Facebook users in developing techniques to influence the 2016 US election.  

As the largest convener on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Concordia serves as a fiercely nonpartisan platform for all angles and perspectives to come to the table. With this is mind, our 2016 plenary session featuring Mr. Nix acts as a fascinating case study for our organization. However, we by no means condone the methods of psychological advertising used and the resulting breach in data protection standards by Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

Since our inception, data protection has remained a critical priority for our organization, as we implement and enforce adequate data protection and security practices for every single Concordia stakeholder, from our members and speakers to attendees of each and every one of our events. Our current Terms of Use and Privacy Policy reflect the reasons we collect data, how we use it, and the safeguards we take to protect it. A commitment to transparency and sensitivity remains at the core of our beliefs, and we continue to nurture this trust with all of our existing and new participants as we expand our programming and reach around the world.

As we look ahead over the coming months, Concordia will explore, emphasize, and promote the role of cross-sector partnerships in combating data fraud, and specifically the role of government in regulating the private sector’s handling of secure citizen data. We will be closely monitoring how organizations and individuals adapt to a new landscape focused on protecting data security and privacy, and we look forward to highlighting best practices from leaders in the Concordia community.


Matthew A. Swift 
Co-founder, Chairman & CEO