By Taylor Garre
When Paris-based Teemo became the first company busted under the European Union's Global Data Protection Regulation, it seemed to get the message. Just two months later, the data location company became the first to meet those Euro guidelines on protection users' personal data. Now, almost a year later, Teemo's CEO is offering U.S. companies tips on privacy regulation.
But first: what is Teemo?
"We are a performance marketing platform. We have retailers, grocery and restaurants. We drive more traffic into their points of sales, thanks to targeted personalized advertising," said Teemo CEO, Benoit Grouchko.
The company specializes in location. "Location is what lets us build a bridge between the digital world, on one hand, and the physical world, on the other hand," said the CEO.
According to the CEO, before the company failed GDPR, it was already operating under a strict framework. That's why it was such a surprise when French regulators sent Teemo a letter, notifying them that they were not compliant.
So the compliance process began.
"Because of the nature of location data, the authority decided to define a new framework," said Grouchko. "So immediately we thought, 'Ok, what is this new framework and how do we make it work?'"
"We worked with a regulator to define the new rules," said the CEO. "It took a little more than two months, so then it was publicly communicated along with our GDPR compliance."
Since the regulation issues a year ago, Teemo has expanded operations into the United States, where politicians on both sides of the aisle are also calling for data privacy regulation. But the company has already been down this road, as Europe forged the way on privacy protection.
"I think its about the culture and what Europe has been through over the last century. Because of that European citizens and society is more sensitive to privacy in general," said Grouchko. "But what we are seeing in the U.S. is citizens becoming more sensitive to privacy as well."
And data privacy regulation in the U.S. seems to be imminent. In fact, California's own version of the GDPR, the Consumer Privacy Act, goes into effect on January 1. The law will give residents more control over their data and will impact every company that does business in the Golden State.
Regulation is on the horizon and Teemo CEO, Benoit Grouchko agrees it's the right time.
"In today's world there's so much data going around, which is for power the digital economy," said Grouchko. "Users need more transparency and more control. Thanks to the regulations, it gives users a better idea of what is going on."
So will California's Consumer Privacy Act cross state lines? It's unclear but, for Benoit Grouchko and the future of other data using companies, the CEO advises, "This is critical in making users trust the digital economy."