Data Privacy Day was first marked back in 2008 to honour the signing of Convention 108, an international treaty concerning privacy and data protection.
It is now celebrated around the world on 28 January every year and aims to raise awareness of the way personal information is used, collected and shared in our digital society.
With major pieces of legislation such as GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation set to come into effect, the effort to provide individuals and businesses with the information and tools they need to safeguard privacy is especially pertinent this year.
Ahead of Data Privacy Day 2018, we canvassed several senior executives in the technology industry to get their thoughts.
Lindsay McEwan, VP & Managing Director, EMEA at Tealium, argues that taking the correct approach to data management is not only necessary to compliance with the new regulations but in order to better serve the needs of the customer.
“Today, we should celebrate all that has been achieved in data privacy so far, and all there is to come. From the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the UK’s Data Protection Bill, we will finally have a set of rules that reflect the nature of our modern world: where constantly connected consumers create near-endless streams of data. This data must be processed and stored with due care and attention, with the user placed firmly at the centre, and recent legal developments provide a platform to do so.
“To achieve compliance, companies must ensure all customer data is easily accessible. In our connected world, customers leave data footprints across several devices – from wearables to mobile – and too often this data is left isolated in disparate silos. By bridging these data silos and creating a centralised storage – which are essential steps for GDPR compliance – it will in turn help companies gain a more complete, useable picture of each customer, aiding marketing efforts.
“Raising awareness of the new legal landscape is crucial, and so too is conveying the benefits it will bring. While the investment needed to reach compliance may seem like a burden, in reality – and in the long-term – it presents an opportunity to improve data practices, and restore customer trust in the process.”
Adrian Newby, Chief Technology Officer at Crownpeak agreed that businesses can use the opportunities presented by GDPR to improve both internal processes and user experience:
“This year, Data Protection Day is sure to strike a chord, as we approach the launch of the GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation, which will raise the bar for transparent communications. Data protection will become ingrained in corporate culture this year, with departments sharing customer data in a streamlined, harmonised approach to aid compliance.
“In particular the GDPR will give companies a compelling reason to seize greater control of digital supply chains to control data flows, especially through third party technologies. With streamlined data processing, companies will be empowered to ask for real and specific consent and provide a smooth user experience. For consumers, layered privacy notices will become a key feature of online browsing, enhancing trust. Where engagement around consent is high, loyalty has the opportunity to thrive.”
Tobin Ireland, CEO and Co-founder at Smartpipe, warned that businesses needed to go beyond pure compliance where new regulations are concerned, and think harder about long-term sustainability in the way they store and use data.
“On Data Privacy Day 2018 there will be 117 days until the GDPR becomes law across Europe with an impact across the globe – it represents the largest transformation in generations, handing rights back to individuals, setting new obligations for businesses, and providing regulators with enforcement powers.
“Working in the ad tech industry we’re still hearing many people say there is “too much uncertainty” about how the GDPR will affect the data supply chain. Data Privacy Day gives businesses an opportunity to reflect on the widespread ‘fight or flight’ posture it has taken. The GDPR was not designed to favour the status quo and can make solutions which try to preserve current commercial and technical models overly complex and cumbersome. On Sunday 28 January the industry should be thinking beyond compliance and embrace sustainable transformation and innovation.
“The new data laws are a positive step, as they aim to provide more control, transparency, and choice for the consumer. It is therefore crucial for businesses to create an environment which fosters trust for their customers, supported by a comprehensive commercial and technological framework for the use of information and consent.”
Looking ahead, Scott Millis, CTO at Cyber adAPT predicts that we’ll see a change in way cyber threats are detected and remedied over the next 12 months with more traditional defences such as firewalls becoming redundant:
“Data Privacy Day continues to gain momentum as consumer demands around data protection grow, and legal changes such as the EU’s GDPR increase the pressure on companies to secure information. Despite this, breaches are on the rise, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies valuing annual losses from cybercrime at $400bn – putting the cyber security industry under pressure to deliver robust solutions.
“The threat landscape has shifted over time and with the volume of attacks growing, the focus should now be on solutions that detect and remedy breaches of today’s edgeless networks, rather than continuing to fruitlessly patch perimeter firewalls. Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer an exciting opportunity to stay one step ahead of the criminals, and I predict they will change the face of cyber security by the time of next year’s Data Privacy Day.”
2018 is set to be a landmark year in the ongoing quest to extract the maximum value from consumer data while respecting privacy. We’re looking forward to seeing how businesses react to the new regulations and requirements of the data-driven future.