Data security is stressful. The press is so full of stories of phishing and hoaxes, of data breaches at hotel chains and airlines and even credit agencies that it is not surprising that privacy is an emotional issue.
It has been coming for some time and now, according to a report by Wunderman Thompson, we are entering the Privacy Era.
We have talked for a while about the Privacy Wars, about how the balance between data privacy and security must be carefully handled and, of course, this has been magnified by the pandemic. And, even if you believe that Government should use whatever means it can bring to bear (including surveillance kit in homes in Australia and military know-how in Israel) it is very hard to get back what has been taken, once the epidemic is controlled.
It is now so acute that the Wunderman Thompson report has a section on Data Wellbeing. The realisation that your data – essentially your online personality – is under constant threat does not sit easy with anyone.
There are now initiatives to address this, around the world. In India, for instance, Facebook teamed up with the Central Board of Secondary Education to create a certified curriculum around digital safety and online wellbeing. Refinery29, a digital self-care organisation, equates data management to health maintenance. The Sundance Film Festival created a VR experience where people could take a journey through their digital day and see the trail of data they leave behind for others to pick up.
Data security as an emotional issue may seem like ‘someone else’s problem’ to seasoned tech professionals but how many times have you been discussing a holiday or new pair of shoes with a partner and, lo and behold, adverts begin appearing? ‘Spooky’ you say, and carry on with the conversation anyway.
When the issue of data security and privacy becomes emotional then people begin to get angry. When that happens, we go from a slightly detached view of the problem to one where people start to protest. And when that happens, something will be done about it – like take the problem into their own hands.