It can be argued that privacy is a casualty of the digital era. There’s always another service, device, or feature that helps tech companies like Google and Apple keep track of users’ activities, such as what they browse online and what places they visit. Some electronic devices are more intrusive than others, and people may be providing digital assistants with more sensitive details than they realize.
Digital privacy context
Tech companies know a lot about their customers. Given the well-publicized data breaches of the 2010s, the public became increasingly aware of the need for data security and control over the information they generate and share online. Likewise, governments have slowly become more proactive about legislating greater controls and privacy for their citizens’ data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union has put privacy protection front of mind for businesses and policymakers. The law requires tech companies to protect the personal data of their customers. Any non-compliance could cost enterprises a hefty fine.
Similarly, California has also implemented regulations to protect the data privacy rights of its citizens. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) forces businesses to provide additional information to consumers, such as how their sensitive data is being collected, stored, and used, to give them more transparency and control over their private information. China has also enacted a range of data privacy regulations during its 2021 crackdown for its domestic tech giants.
Implementation and compliance with data privacy regulations have become a necessity for tech companies. For example, Mark McCreary, a data and privacy security lawyer at Philadelphia firm, Fox Rothschild, stated that US states implementing their own privacy regulations are creating several compliance challenges for tech firms in operating from state to state. Accordingly, to keep the data and trust of users’, tech firms will have to maintain transparency by openly communicating what information they collect, for what purposes, and so on.
Moreover, data privacy regulations around the world will encourage people to become more educated about their digital rights. Over time, more people will have better control over their personal data, how it is being used, why, and by whom.
Implications of digital privacy
Broader implications of digital privacy laws may:
- Increase the responsibility of governments to protect their citizens.
- Reduce the incidence, size, and impact of illegal data hacking incidents long-term.
- Restrict some businesses from accessing users’ personal data for commercial purposes.
- Help insure people against online frauds and scams.
Questions to comment on
- What will be the impact of data protection laws on big tech enterprises?
- How do you think data protection laws will impact the way businesses use data for commercial purposes?