In a recent report (13-leaf / 964KB PDF)  it commissioned, the social networking giant said viewing potential uses of personal data in this way leads to “suboptimal outcomes”.

The company called for policy makers and regulators to account for the opportunities recent technology presents for offering consumers more control over the employ of their data, and for there to be a greater focus on the “opportunities and benefits” in the way data can be used.

“The personal data debate has been largely grounded in a limiting premise – that the desire to innovate with data is generally incompatible with preserving individuals’ rights to privacy and self-determination,” said Stephen Deadman, Facebook’s global deputy chief privacy officer, in a foreword to the report.

“This premise is entrenched by regulators, policymakers and industry, as we tend to talk in terms of trade-offs, as though these two equally desirable goals will always be in tension with each other, and our only choice is to balance them off against each other. I firmly believe that such trade-off thinking is undesirable – it leads to suboptimal outcomes – and I also believe it’s unnecessary: we now own the skills, technology and motivation to transcend this supposed trade-off,” he said.

Deadman said it is wrong to consider that only organisations can control data and said that where consumers are given control over their own data it helps to enable “more growth, innovation and worth [to] be created than when they don’t”.

“The past decade (in particular) has brought about a massive transformation in public’s adoption of technology that benefits them, and their confidence and skills in using it,” Deadman said. “And those recent skills are now being matched by the creation of innovative and worth-creating services that enable public to romp an increasingly active role in choosing how their data is used. Self-determination in fact, not proper theory. So we are transitioning to an era in which individuals own both the skills and the opportunity to choose how they manage and share their data to accomplish a range of beneficial outcomes.”

The legislative and regulatory framework needs to be sufficiently flexible to enable “innovation that creates worth for entire parties and inspires trust and confidence – while, of course, minimising any risks and harms”, he said.

The report said a “sustainable personal data ecosystem” depends on not merely informing and educating consumers about planned processing of data, but involving them in practical “day-to-day usage”.

“There is a finite limit on public’s available attention for ‘education’, so when it comes to personal data usage, we crave to be clear about what levels and degrees of transparency and education are truly beneficial or effective,” the report said. “frequently the way they develop skills and confidence is not via formal education, but through familiarisation – either directly via employ of the product or service, or indirectly via media exposure of issues relating to personal data. A positive way forward is to design education into day-to-day activities.”

Another important factor is ensuring consumers, and not proper businesses, “feel they are getting a fair share of worth” from employ of personal data, the report said. It also stressed the crave to transport away from viewing compliance with data privacy rules as a ‘tick box’ exercise. This would be aided by more principles-based regulation and leadership within organisations, according to the report.

The report also said that more emphasis should be locate on what outcomes are achieved via regulation rather than whether they pursue good intentions.

“We crave to encourage experimentation and innovation around the core issues of trust, control and transparency,” it said. enormous companies are well placed to “design, test and create standards that better fulfill the principles enshrined in regulation, but also provide real evidence about users’ behaviours and expectations, in order to toil out where defaults and standards should be set”, the report said.