Data Privacy

2018 will be the year personal data privacy finally gets serious

GDPR, calls for accountability for hacks and online behaviour and a growing awareness of the impacts of internet monopolies – the times they are very much a-changin’.

So why is this year different? First and foremost because of the General Data Protection Regulation, aka GDPR. This game-changing regulation, which comes into force in May, firmly swings back ownership and protection of personal data away from businesses into the hands of consumers.  Personal data privacy is going to be the non-negotiable new norm, and that is going to impact every area of commerce as we know it.

Explicit consent, data portability and privacy by design are among the measures enshrined in the GDPR – and because it applies to any business that operates in the EU, not just those based here, the ramifications are going to be truly worldwide.

Not only will GDPR upend the current and dominant data tracking model, but it will throw open innovation for those platforms and services, like, that see an opportunity to do good and personalise offerings and services by harnessing the possibilities of fully consented data streams.

On the other side of the coin, public awareness of, and disquiet with, the data-hoovering tech behemoths of Facebook and Google is also growing. Are these internet monopolies too big to fail? Almost certainly – but expect to see more calls for at least some regulation, as the impacts of failure to ensure accountability up to this point become evident in every aspect of our society, economy and politics.

2018, too, following a tumultous year where the mass hacks of Yahoo and Equifax were revealed, is likely to a) see more hacks and b) with this, more awareness of the need to decentralise data to stop creating honeypots. A growing awareness of the insecurity of personal data generally is also likely to feed into demands from consumers to both have it returned to them, and for those companies that still store it to take greater steps to secure it.

We’ve always said that personal data is best kept by the person who has most vested in it, both for safety and for them to choose how it and with whom it is shared, and 2018 looks firmly set to be the year where that gains currency.

Exciting and innovative times ahead – and we can’t wait!