What the Future of Data Privacy and Ownership Will Look Like

For years consumers have implicitly allowed companies and other organizations to collect and use their personal information. That old normal is changing, however, and rapidly.

What is the future of data privacy and ownership? There is a new normal developing and your organization needs to be aware of and ahead of the trends.

The future of data privacy and ownership is driven by technological, societal, and governmental trends. Here are some of the most significant.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues its rapid growth. Mordor Research expects the global market for IoT devices and services to almost double in size by 2026, to $1.4 million. Unfortunately, many IoT devices and sensors are poorly secured, if at all, yet still transmit and gather sensitive user data. If IoT providers suffer significant data breaches, which is likely, look for the entire industry to come under increasing scrutiny.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly being used to gain insights from collected data and provide personalized online experiences. Unfortunately, these technologies can also be used to create new data from existing data, such as determining area codes from mobile GPS signals. This ability to create new sensitive data not known to the original user is troubling.

Remote Working

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an invisible contributor to data insecurity, with large numbers of employees now working remotely. A Pew Research survey reveals that 71% of Americans are currently working from home at least part of the time, up from just 20% before COVID hit. Remote work is inherently less secure than office work, with employees accessing sensitive work assets from their homes, public Wi-Fi networks, and other insecure channels. This creates new opportunities for malicious actors to breach online communications and data.

Increased Regulation – and Increased Enforcement

Governments around the world are paying increased attention to data privacy, with a raft of legislation designed to protect citizens’ private data. In recent years we’ve seen a raft of new regulations come into effect, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Canada’s Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Three-quarters of the world’s countries have either drafted or enacted some form of data privacy regulations, as have 33 of the 50 U.S. states.

These laws are being enforced. In the third quarter of 2021 alone, the EU levied GDPR-related fines totaling more than $1.1 billion. Individual fines can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars. The threat of such substantial fines is encouraging companies worldwide to reexamine and beef up their data privacy policies.

Predictions for the Future of Data Privacy and Ownership

What do these trends portend? While malicious actors will continue to test the data security of companies worldwide, it looks like consumers will eventually gain more ownership of their personal data.

Consumer Empowerment

Stronger governmental regulation and increasing consumer awareness will lead to users being empowered to have more control over they data. This may take several forms:

  • More data collection will be opt-in vs. the current opt-out model
  • Automatic user tracking will be reduced
  • Consumers will be compensated for the use of their data, financially or otherwise
  • Consumers will have more control over how their data is used
  • Companies will collect less consumer data

Death of the Data Graveyard

The risk of a data breach and associated regulatory and legal action will inspire many companies to severely trim the type and amount of data they collect and store. Today many companies collect much more data than they actually use, creating vast data graveyards of older or unused customer data. Instead of continuing to store little-used and potentially burdensome data, many companies will decide to delete the data before it falls into the wrong hands.

More Scrutiny of Third-Party Vendors

Major brands are responsible not just for the data they themselves collect but also data collected in their names by retailers and other third parties. Less-secure third-party vendors are also vulnerable data breach that can affect the parent brand. The security and privacy policies of all third parties will come under increased scrutiny to reduce the risk to brand holders.

Increased Investment in Privacy Technology

Cisco reports that the average corporate privacy budget doubled from 2019 to 2020, hitting an average of $2.4 million per company. It is likely that the increased focus on data privacy will lead to even larger investments in enterprise cybersecurity and privacy technology.

Employ Wickr as Part of Your Data Privacy Strategy

One way to protect the privacy of customer data is to employ strong data encryption. Wickr’s secure communications and collaboration platform uses end-to-end encryption and other military-grade security to ensure that text, voice, and video communications and data files cannot hijacked or breached. Employ Wickr alongside the other components of your organization’s data privacy strategy to ensure that your customers’ data remains private.

Contact Wickr today to learn more about developing an effective data privacy strategy for your organization.

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