It seems like everyone is talking about data privacy nowadays. In the EU, you literally cannot enter a single website without someone mentioning data privacy.
But even without hitting “Accept” and moving on into the website, data privacy is at the heart of marketing, studies, politics and to a certain extent, human rights. So why is everyone talking about data privacy? We explore.
The main side effect of the internet being accessible to a large portion of the population is that we are all a lot more educated. Whether we’re educated on how to build a shelf or data legislation, we all either know more or can look up more on a whim.
And thanks to a few high-profile events that occurred, the general public got interested in looking after their data privacy. Understanding how to keep a lid on what you are doing when you access any website and controlling your data is important to general safety and privacy, and ironically, it’s the internet that provides the answers.
This is only going to increase as time goes on. The first generation raised on the internet, Gen Z, are now old enough to work, and data protection is just something that they do, and take seriously, to varying degrees.
So, what were these high-profile cases that educated the public? Well, these cases only get high profile through the news, which means someone was wronged. The really famous example is Facebook and the Cambridge Analytical scandal, where the data of millions of Facebook users was collected for political purposes. Users were fed propaganda in an attempt to sway votes.
Before this scandal, questions might have emerged. Why is my data so valuable? Why would anyone steal it? Why do I need to give permission to use it, as per the GDPR law? What could it possibly be used for? These scandals started to really expose the value and potential of personal data, so even if you’ve never looked at the terms and conditions of a GDPR permission page, you’ll know now that your data can be used and not in your best interest.
“More valuable than gold” is a common phrase, but nowadays, data outruns gold by a lot. The biggest buyers are marketed. Marketers want it for more targeted marketing campaigns, so they don’t waste time advertising cat food to a dog owner. But that is just one example. Data informs countless industries in a lot of areas, to the point that it’s vital to how the world works right now.
But this value of data partnered with a value of privacy might make for some interesting changes in the future. With increasing regulation from the EU, the UK and the US, there is a chance that big corporations like Alphabet, Apple and Amazon will soon have to, instead of taking data with or without permission, pay for data. This shift would result in the power and ownership of data shifting from corporations to the user, but will it happen? Only time will tell.