What does the future of privacy hold?
In 10 years, will privacy be dead as Cassandras have been predicting? Has the volume of private data shared / used / overused exceeded the tipping point that, unless you were born in 2018 or living in a deserted island without internet connection, you cannot pretend to have any privacy left?
Or are we at a critical crossroads where the building of a proper and ethical foundation for data management is still possible? Where organizations will adopt a customer privacy centric strategy and will give power back to their customers as the sole owners of their data and the sole decision makers of what personal data to share and how to share it?
With the new wave of technological innovations uniquely built on data analysis and consumption (edge computing, swarm computing, artificial intelligence etc..) we have no choice but to embrace data privacy by design unless we want to collectively fail.
We will need to carefully adopt automation and artificial intelligence by targeting the creation of ethical machines, that is, AI-powered machines that have been trained on the ethical and lawful usage of data. AI-powered machines that know when their new computation round might require additional consent from the data owners and that can reach out “on the fly” to get the necessary consent before proceeding with the mathematical calculations. AI-powered machines that utilize auditable and “debiased” algorithms to produce an output that can be reversed engineered and that does not discriminate against the data subjects / owners.
We will also see the proliferation of personally curated data, with the growth and consolidation of data marketplaces where consumers have control over their data and decide which data they wish to sell to which organizations and under which conditions.
We will need a diverse portfolio of privacy enhancing solutions to meet all the challenges that the digital innovations will bring. Yet the privacy management industry is still in its infancy: it is today where the cybersecurity industry was 10 years ago.
But it is undeniable that data protection regulations will fuel growth and innovation, as the ROI of adopting privacy enhancing solutions is already improved exponentially.
Organizations will need to monitor this privacy management market and start testing early on privacy innovation solutions by embedding them in their digital innovation portfolio roadmap.
If the past taught us anything, it should be that privacy and security should not be an afterthought anymore. Our future innovation should not go down the same path as cloud, IoT, mobility, where cybersecurity and data protection were not implemented by design and by default.