Q&A with Chief Compliance and Data Privacy Officer Karis McLarty on data privacy.

To mark World Data Privacy Day, our Chief Compliance and Data Privacy Officer Karis McLarty shares more information on how we’re using data at Clear Channel Europe to create the future of media.


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RADAR is a suite of tools we’ve developed at Clear Channel that uses anonymised mobile location data to better understand the audience groups that are passing by our panels. Read more

What is your role at Clear Channel and what does your day normally involve?

One of the elements of my job I enjoy the most is that no day is the same. As Chief Compliance and Data Privacy Officer, my job is to help the business behave ethically, which covers a broad range of areas. In a typical day, for example, I could spend my morning in an environmental strategy meeting, followed by an afternoon in a forensic investigation, or negotiating the terms of a new partnership as part of our Platform for Good commitment.

What is Clear Channel’s approach to data privacy?

We have a bold vision at Clear Channel to create the future of media. Part of achieving this means making outdoor advertising more effective, which data allows us to do, by helping our advertising clients find the best locations, timings and content to run their campaigns on.

At the heart of our approach is our commitment to behaving ethically as a company. In fact, everything we do from a data privacy perspective has to meet our six ethical principles listed out in our “Fair Processing” Programme. This covers everything from what data we process, to how long we keep it and how it is safely stored.

To make sure these principles are upheld, we have a strict due diligence process for the suppliers we will work with and ony choose those who can demonstrate compliance with data privacy law and principle.Clear Channel run regular audits on our markets and also run training for teams that deal with personal data, like marketing departments, sales teams and colleagues working in procurement. We take our responsibilities to protecting people’s privacy really seriously and have a dedicated Data Privacy Office that ensures our work and partnerships meet our legal and ethical requirements. The office is also supported by Data Champions and Local Compliance Officers in each market.

What personal data does Clear Channel use for advertising campaigns that run on your billboards, bus shelters and street furniture and why?

Outdoor advertising is a mass-audience medium. Brands come to Clear Channel when they want to reach hundreds of thousands of people and create brand fame, so we’re interested in insights about group behaviour and not the actions of any one person in particular. It differs from online advertising in that sense.

For example, our campaign planning tool RADAR View uses third party mobile data to understand the groups of people that walk past Clear Channel’s panels. We then use these insights to help advertisers identify the best panels for them to roll-out their campaigns on and reach their target audience group. It’s really important for me to stress here that the data that powers RADAR View does not contain identifying information about any individualsClear Channel can never identify any one person. The data we use is collected by a third-party data provider that is GDPR compliant, meaning it derives soley from a sample of people who consent to share information with advertisers, and it is anonymised and grouped before being shared with Clear Channel. My colleague Andy Stevens talks more about how the RADAR View tool works here if you’re interested in finding out more.

How do you collect personal data and how is it stored?

One vital way we do collect individuals’ data at Clear Channel is to help us run our bike sharing schemes across Europe. We pioneered the bike sharing idea in Rennes, France, more than three decades ago. To operate the bikes, we collect financial information (so people can pay to use the service), and bicycle GPS data (to help us locate the bikes and return them to empty stations at the end of the day).

We have robust protocols in place when storing this personal data. The financial data is processed in accordance to the PCI DSS standard. The GPS data is collected in accordance with GDPR, and bike scheme users can apply to us to find out what we have, and why.

For more information on our personal data, check out our Privacy and Cookies Notice on our website.

How do you make sure all the data you use and collect is GDPR compliant?

We apply the same rigorous approach to data privacy we have internally to our third-party data processing partners by making them complete a Data Privacy Impact Assessment before we engage with them, and sign stringent contractual terms agreeing to protect personal data.

Crucially, we’re constantly monitoring changes to local laws and regulations to ensure we stay up-to-date and fully compliant at all points and across all the countries we operate in.

Can members of the public request to see all the data Clear Channel has on them and for it to be removed?

Yes – Europeans and UK citizens have the right to ask for data and in order to do that, they should contact mydata@clearchannelint.com.   We are always happy to help! We always strive to be open and transparent around data usage and our uses of data are in our Privacy & Cookies Notice – this process is most likely to be used if they have used a bike scheme, entered a competition, or run a business and have been interested in advertising on our panels.  If, once you have read that Policy, you have any questions, we welcome you to please contact the Privacy Office team at mydata@clearchannelint.com.

Our dedicated Privacy Office manages all subject access requests and ensures that we respond within the timelimits set by law.