Dimon: Data privacy issue 'is a big deal'

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WASHINGTON — Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, jumped into the growing debate Wednesday over how consumer data is collected and used.

His comments came in response to a question about advice he’d give Facebook as it manages intense scrutiny over how its user data was used to create targeted political ads beginning in 2014. Reports surfaced earlier this week that the political data firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly gained access to personal data for more than 50 million Facebook users without their permission. The news has raised questions about what protections companies should have for user information as well as what informed consent should look like for consumers.

“This privacy issue is a big deal. I don’t buy this argument that millennials don’t care — millennials don’t know,” Dimon said at an event hosted by the news site Axios. “All of that data, location, shopping, sites, places you visit — all of that information is being accumulated and sold and marketed around the world.”

“I think people have a right to know what it is and where it is and how it’s controlled and why it’s controlled,” he added.

Dimon also spoke at the event about efforts to create a diverse and inclusive workplace at his bank, noting that half of his 10 direct reports are women and two are LGBT. He added that the company has been working to promote a program called Advancing Black Leaders.

“We’ve actually grown by 20-30% in the last year or two alone our senior black leaders,” he said.

He added that, previously during his tenure leading Bank One before the bank merged with JPMorgan Chase, he canceled memberships to country clubs that didn’t open their doors to everybody.

“I didn’t go hire McKinsey — I walked back to the people and I canceled the clubs,” he said. “If they don’t allow blacks, Jews or women, we’re not paying. Not only did I do that, I went to all the people who belonged to them and I said, you can pay for yourself, but don’t even bother to put a business lunch through this company; we’re not going to support them in any way, shape or form.”

Meanwhile, Dimon discussed the need to stay connected to the details of his business by getting out to talk to employees and customers.

“I learn a lot when I’m on the road,” he said.

He tells workers, “You get a beer and immunity — you can say whatever you want.”

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