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28 January was Data Privacy & Protection Day – so what does that mean?

Did you know that 28 January was Data Privacy & Protection Day? It marks the anniversary of the first European Data Privacy Directive signed in 1981. Now more than 45 European countries, as well as Canada, India and the US, use the day to promote data privacy and protection best practices.

Data Privacy & Protection DayWith such a lot happening around privacy and data protection — particularly in Europe with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) — I thought it would be a good opportunity to blog about it – according to a Blog by RS2.

We live in data-driven times

From mobile phone signals to social media sites, payments to the Internet of Things (IoT), we create around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. So much so, IBM estimates that 90 percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.

Maybe it is this very data explosion that has contributed to changing views on privacy. This and the free-to-serve internet model and old economics of data. “I have read and agree to the terms” is probably the biggest lie on the web. You know from your own experience. How long does it take you to tick the box to agree?

If it’s more than ten seconds, you’re probably in the minority. A quick Google search reveals that in reality, it would take 76 days to read all the privacy policies an average internet user encounters in a year. Maybe this is part of the problem.

When we tick to accept the terms, what are we actually agreeing to? Well, being tracked across other websites. Not being allowed to leave the service. Having to accept changes to the terms at any time without prior notice. Having our personal data shared with other parties. It’s more than a little concerning.

The future starts today

At the same time, there is growing awareness that privacy and data protection is just as important now in the new data age, if not more so than in the past. Enter the EU GDPR, the most significant change to data protection legislation in Europe in 20 years.

The EU GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018, yet is already casting its shadow forward. The Regulation facilitates opportunities for data use and sharing. However, there are also risks for those who misuse or lose data, with breach notification requirements and fines of up to €20 million or four percent of global annual turnover.

We are on the cusp of a change around data stewardship. The idea of empowering customers to get more out of their own data is coming to the fore. We see this in the EU GDPR but also in the PSD2 with regard to access to account data.

Old notions of data being a zero-sum gain — customers having to lose out for business to benefit — are being aged out. Customers will be willing to exchange their data if they know what will be done with it and what they get in return. There is a huge innovation opportunity in turning privacy and data protection into a positive-sum gain.

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