Data Privacy gets its Day – is this the tipping point?

privacy
Image credit: Hyejin Kang / Shutterstock.com

Apparently there is a thing called Data Privacy Day. It is today. And although we might smile that such a thing even exists, events like this might just prove to be a tipping point in the privacy wars.

Data Privacy Day is organised by the US based National Cyber Security Alliance which is a non profit organisation, whose members range from Cisco to Facebook, Comcast to Bank of America.

What is interesting is that a campaign about privacy online is being promoted and hosted by an organisation whose roots are in security. Has the line between the two become blurred, you have to wonder. Are large organisations comping together to promote defence of privacy in the same way as they promote defence of our digital world?

If organisations such as this are talking privacy in the breath as security, then that is important.

There are other initiatives underway that make us think that the tide has now turned and privacy will become a trend, and a cool one at that.

In Davos, 40 companies signed up to a Digital Declaration. The declaration says that companies need to act ethically in a world that is going digital as fast as it is. The GSMA noted that ‘by 2022, 60% of GDP will be digitised and consumers are rightfully expecting more from digital services’ while, importantly ‘their trust in businesses is being tested’.

There are other areas where organisations are pushing back against the ‘technology first, consequences later’ approach. AI is an obvious one and there are others.

What is strange is that against this backdrop of users wanting privacy and industries beginning to support this, the harvesters of our data just keep going. Google, for instance, is being fined by more and more countries for GDPR violations (allegedly) but is still scything through our data and selling it all and sundry.

Last week, the company let slip that changes to their Chromium environment will block the ad blockers, meaning that the control of content will be taken away from users (again).

Add the Digital Declaration to initiatives like Data Privacy Day and we can expect a real impetus.

Make it cool to protect privacy, in the way that it is now cool to drink almond milk, and users and providers of digital services are suddenly leading the charge for privacy and user control. Once that happens, expect the prime suspects (Google, Facebook et al) to jump on board and try and get us to believe that all they ever wanted was to protect users’ privacy and give them control over their content.

Soon, the maverick Professors and incensed students promoting concepts such as Vendor Relationship Management might find a formidable and serious army at their back.

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