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The Future of Privacy – Why Using and Protecting Personal Data Is a Vital Business Imperative

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1 de julho de 2020

While some have expressed that privacy is dead in the era of big data, data leaders I recently spoke with about the future of privacy believe there’s nothing further from the truth

By Bernard Marr

In our discussion, Aoife Sexton, Chief Privacy Officer of Truata; Caroline Carruthers, Chief Executive of Carruthers and Jackson and co-author of The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook and Data Driven Business Transformation; and Roberto Maranca, Data Excellence Vice President of Schneider Electric pondered the importance of personal data, why it matters and why data privacy is a vital part of business in the future.

The Value of Data

Aoife Sexton – Chief Privacy Officer of Truata

“There’s been exponential growth in data even in the past couple of years. The European Commission published a data strategy earlier this year and they projected a 530% increase in global data volumes from 2018-2025. That’s a growth from 33 zettabytes to 175 zettabytes.”

In terms of value being ascribed to that data, they projected for 2025 within the EU the data economy would be worth $829 billion up from $301 billion in 2018. There can be no doubt about it, big data means big business and big value is attached to that,” Aoife Sexton explained.

This growth in big data sets can reveal valuable insights. Those insights can drive data-based decision-making and ignite innovation.

Roberto Maranca – Data Excellence Vice President of Schneider Electric

“The data economy that is emerging is such a disruptive, changing force for our world. The ability for us to observe much more finer, granular and a much more complete data set will allow us to optimize our resources, allow us to feed all the people we need to feed and solve other issues,” Roberto Maranca said.

Data Privacy is Vital for Business

As individuals access online services as they go about everyday life, they are building an expansive digital footprint that is accessible to the businesses that provide those services.

Whether a person visits a corporate website or uses an internet-of-things device, the “fee for service” (whether they realize it or not) is they are providing access to their valuable data.

The companies that provide these services must be trustworthy caretakers of this information. While this is a requirement that’s increasingly mandated by regulations such as GDPR, many consumers are now informed enough to demand it. As Aoife Sexton said,

“Companies would be well-advised to take privacy seriously and to listen to what their consumers are asking for in terms of a demonstration by these companies that they are acting responsibly with consumer’s data.”

In the Global Consumer State of Mind Report commissioned by Truata, independent market research firm Arlington Research conducted 8,000 interviews with consumers in the UK, France, India and the United States and found that 77% of global consumers agree that data privacy is essential to them and 78% have taken one or more steps to reduce their digital footprint.

And critical to the bottom line, 63% of consumers say they would stop buying from brands if they don’t demonstrate to consumers that they are being responsible with their personal data.

So, while data privacy safeguards are important to meet compliance requirements it’s increasingly critical to building consumer trust in a brand that ultimately can build business success.

If your company wants to use consumer data, then trust has to be a vital element of your plan. Consumers will share data—today’s valuable currency—if you build trust.

We’re still very much in a Wild West phase, where companies still try to get their hands on customer data in any way they possibly can without necessarily telling their consumers what they are collecting and how they are using it.

Caroline Carruthers – Chief Executive of Carruthers and Jackson

“The really key takeaway {from the report} is that consumers care greatly. People are starting to learn more that they have the ability to control. Privacy is something they should be taking seriously.

“We see lots of examples where maybe companies haven’t been as open and transparent as we want them to be and would like them to be and what that’s generated is a level of distrust which I think feeds back into the report and you can see that coming through very clearly,” said Caroline Carruthers.

How Do We Strike the Balance? Using Valuable Data and Protecting Privacy

“Companies can no longer treat data protection as some back-office compliance issue. It’s really a board level, C-level strategic issue for companies.”

It is possible to use data to gain valuable insights to provide better products and solutions while also respecting privacy. I don’t think it’s a binary choice of either/or, I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game,” said Sexton. “Just because you can do something with data doesn’t mean you should,” she added.

If they haven’t already done so, companies must have proactive strategies and programs that will raise customer trust levels over time.

This also requires that companies follow ethical practices to be excellent data leaders and to stay in business. “Excellence that’s based on principles. One of the principles has to be ethical treatment and responsible usage of data,” Mr. Maranca said.

Ms. Carruthers added, “Transparency without clear clarity isn’t good enough. We have to genuinely want to be clear and straightforward in how we tackle the issue. Very simple with the language we use with people is very important.”

She explained data literacy is very important and we need to be helping people understand in laypeople’s terms how and why data is being used.

What’s the Future of Data Privacy?

If privacy is not dead, what does data privacy look like in the future?

Ms. Carruthers said, “The key word for me when it comes to privacy in the future is choice. Privacy will be incredibly important in the future. Our data will become a currency. We can choose the level of privacy that we are happy to live with for the service we want.”

While Mr. Maranca acknowledged it is complex, he believes, “You need to equip yourself to be a better business while you’re compliant.”

Since our new technologies are ubiquitous and pervasive, they represent a step-change from what has happened in the past.

This is why, Ms. Sexton believes, “Privacy is going to be even more important in the future. Safeguarding privacy and human autonomy is going to be one of the most important challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution. How do we maximize the benefits of technology and big data while also minimizing the potential harm?”

I expect that personal data will become much more important and much more valuable. We will move to the world of much more granular data. Google is already talking about micro-moments where they will be able to know what products we want right when we need them.

I expect there will be more mass personalization. But this will require companies to earn the trust of their customers by being transparent. This involves giving the consumer the choice to delete their data and control their data. There is a real need for a two-way relationship.

And, as with any relationship, it starts with trust. 

Source: Linkedin

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