We have all been there. You’re having a conversation about a product you want to try.
Ads for the product show up all over the place. How did they know you were looking for a new couch or a specific type of shoe?! Well, there are many ways that our data can be tracked online.
Brands are typically not ill-intentioned when they collect our data. They are looking to provide us with the best customer experience possible. They use their data to expose us to their product and build out emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence to improve their product or service.
As our reliance on the internet continues to grow, our data will become more valuable. Consequently, issues like security vulnerability will become a larger risk for organizations managing customer data. According to Risk Based Security:
- Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half of 2020 alone.
- 88% of organizations experienced “spear-phishing“ attempts in 2019 across the globe.
Importance of Data Privacy & Ethical Impacts
What You Need to Know About Data Privacy
The issue of data privacy is not going away. And it has major monetary and ethical impacts on our society. Aishwarya Srinivasan, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) leader at IBM and founder of Illuminate AI, joined me to share her thoughts on the importance of data privacy and its ethical impacts. “Even though I am a data scientist, it still creeps me out at times,” Aishwarya said.
The internet is still in its Wild West phase, resulting in the dilemma we find ourselves in today. We don’t know how or where our data is being used. Even those like Aishwarya, who have a deep understanding of what data can do for us, don’t have a stronghold on their own data footprint.
There Needs to Be a Balance
Aishwarya suggests a give-and-take between emerging technologies and deciding when and where to apply them. We also need to be thoughtful of how we shape solutions and what data they use. This measure will ensure that we are creating inclusive technology that can be used across populations.
As technology evolves, we need to ask ourselves how much data and privacy we are willing to give away for incremental value. With virtual and augmented reality making its way to mainstream companies like Facebook (rebranding to Meta), we will have new opportunities to interact with the virtual world. But, they may require even more of our personal information.
For example, want to virtually try on clothes? We could use augmented reality to do a complete body scan to try on outfits. Some may be willing to do this while others prefer to do it the old fashion way.
This may seem like a simple example, but as consumers, we will face more and more of these choices moving forward as technology continues to evolve.
Regulations are Critical for Protection
Governments around the world recognize that data privacy is an issue that needs attention. These regulations vary depending on the region that you live in. Recently, large brands like Apple have begun to acknowledge their role in protecting their customers’ data.
Businesses that house consumer data are constantly waking up to the importance of keeping data safe. Government regulations will require organizations to have secure storage of information, especially when hosted in the cloud. As a result, encryption, Cybersecurity, and sound data management practices will remain hot topics for years to come.
Moral of the Story
As the issue of data privacy continues to evolve you will likely see changes in your day-to-day life and at work. For example, if you have a Gmail account, you are heavily encouraged to set up two-factor authentication to keep your account safe. Additionally, if you use an iPhone, you are now be promoted to either allow or block applications from tracking your data. And as we begin to learn more about emerging technologies, we need to be aware of the ethics of the reality we are building.
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