In 2020, the connected infrastructure and digital services were important for the daily functioning of society. This realization has led to a shift in attitudes to privacy and the way citizens, organizations and governments perceive it.
Kaspersky’s privacy experts highlighted one trend: players in each field represent a clash of contrary forces. Vendors of all sizes will start to collect more and more diverse data; while governments respond with new regulations, and users start seeing privacy as a value proposition for which they are willing to pay.
Driving the clash between around privacy and data collection are:
- Consumer privacy is a value proposition that will cost money. Increased data gathering during the pandemic, and growing political turmoil that crossed into digital platforms, have combined to yield rapid growth in public awareness of unfettered data collection. As more users look to preserve their privacy, organizations are responding by offering privacy-focused products – the number and diversity of which is set to grow.
- Beware smart health device vendors collecting diverse data – and use it in other ways. The data gathered by fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors and other devices provide insights so valuable that they have already been used in court cases, not to mention by marketers and insurers who also find it extremely useful. And with health being a public concern, the demand for such data will only grow.
- Governments will look to control big-tech data hoarding. Having access to user data opens up a huge range of opportunities – think, fighting child abuse or making city traffic more efficient. Also, think silencing dissent. Yet, with most private organizations refusing to share this data, governments will undoubtedly respond with more regulations that hinder online privacy, with the most heated debates around privacy-preserving technologies such as end-to-end encryption, DNS-over-HTTPS and cryptocurrencies.
- Data companies to use data to fuel the behavioural analytics machine. Data-driven behavioural analytics is a dangerous game to play. Errors can be damaging to people, while the actual quality of these systems is often a trade secret. Yet, that will not stop organizations working in this field from finding more creative ways to profile users based on what they like and do – and thereby influence their lives.
- Multi-party computations, differential privacy, federated learning and edge computing will become widely adopted. As companies become more conscious about what data they actually need, and consumers push back against unchecked data collection, more advanced privacy tools are emerging and becoming more widely adopted, while big-tech organizations move to guarantee users’ new and strict privacy standards. More advanced hardware will emerge, enabling developers to create tools that are capable of advanced data processing, thereby decreasing the amount of data shared by users with organizations.
Vladislav Tushkanov, a privacy expert at Kaspersky, says in 2020 many users realized how much information they share and what they get in return. This heightened awareness resulted in a better understanding of the right to privacy and how to exercise it.
With privacy becoming a hot button at the intersection of governmental, corporate and personal interests, it has resulted in different and conflicting trends in how data is gathered, privacy preserved and violated.
He acknowledged that users don’t have full control over their data, “there is a lot we can do to reclaim some of our privacy and control of our personal data.”