CIBJO releases Ethics Commission Special Report,
focusing on legal challenge of handling consumer data

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

With the 2021 Virtual CIBJO Congress in its second week, the tenth and last of this year’s CIBJO Special Reports has been released. Prepared by CIBJO’s Ethics Commission, headed by Tiffany Stevens, and co-authored by Miya Owens, Associate Counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) in the United States, the report looks at the growing challenge of collecting, securing and handling big data, and especially personal data harvested both online and offline from jewellery consumers.

The report is released two days ahead of the final session of the two-week virtual congress on November 18, which will be a joint session of the Ethics Commission and CIBJO’s Marketing & Education Commission, together with CIBJO’s Technology Committee. It will consider the issues covered in the report, and is entitled “Dealing with personal data in the digital and online jewellery trading environment.” To register for the session PLEASE CLICK HERE.

The need for data in the jewellery industry is growing exponentially, as it is in other business sectors, as companies shift more of their activities online and employ targeted marketing software and employ social media to reach consumers. A Harvard Business Review article, quoted by the report, says that organisations with data-driven operations can outperform their peers by an average of 5 percent in productivity and 6 percent in profitability.

But, with the proliferation of data collection, there is a concurrent increase in laws and regulations worldwide promulgated to address the corresponding risks. “While the legal landscape related to data use and protection is rapidly changing, all businesses should be cognisant of the relevant laws and regulations in all jurisdictions where they have physical and digital ties,” the report states. “Gone are the days of only complying with the laws of jurisdictions where a business has a physical presence.”

The report provides an overarching view of developing legal and regulatory frameworks being constructed in various countries and regions, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, which it describes “as the toughest privacy and data security law in the world,” which also is applied extraterritorially, “meaning it may apply to a business located outside of the EU, so long as it offers goods or service to EU customers or monitors the behaviour of EU-based website visitors through web tools such as tracking cookies.”

The comprehensive Ethics Special Report concludes with five specific recommendations for the jewellery sector, designed to minimise the dangers of misusing or mishandling customer and employee personal data.

CIBJO congresses serve as the official gathering place for the World Jewellery Confederation’s global membership, and are also the venue for the annual meetings of CIBJO’s sectoral commissions, where amendments can be introduced to the organisation’s definitive directories of international industry standards for diamonds, coloured stones, pearls, gem labs, precious metals, coral and responsible sourcing, known as the Blue Books.

The CIBJO Congress is also where the programme of World Jewellery Confederation Education Foundation (WJCEF), relating to responsible and sustainable activities in the industry and CIBJO’s ongoing cooperation with the United Nations and its development programme is reported upon.

To download a full copy of the CIBJO Ethics Commission’s special report, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

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