Privacy as business model
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
Definition of personal data has been closely linked to the ability with which an individual can be identified. For that very reason, such information is quite valuable and will continue to be collected, stored, handled, and processed at a large scale. Having said that, its ever-growing collection has been posing significant risks to individuals and enterprises. In particular, it can lead to the loss of an individual’s privacy, financial damages, discrimination, marginalisation, or the exclusion of individuals and groups. These challenges are giving rise to new business models that are based on letting end users take full control of their data. Some of such initiatives could include:
- Introduction of secured Personal Data Stores (PDS), which could help individuals to gather, store & manage their personal data. It could also provide them with additional tools to control what information to share, with whom, when and for what purpose. Such tools let the data sit in an individual store and can be accessed using the devices you trust. Think of it in the following way: currently, to buy something online you have to fill in a form on your supplier’s website that states your name, address, card details etc. Later on, if you want to buy something from a different supplier, you have to repeat the whole process again. PDS can help you to keep this information on your own database and use it from there, instead of having to type your details each time you do a transaction.
- Widespread use of Preference Management Systems (PMS) has the potential to help the culture of consent evolve from just ticking the boxes to sharing user’s preferences with trusted entities upfront. As of now, individual’s consent for collecting, using, and sharing their personal data is embedded within complex privacy policies which are often difficult to read and understand. Tools such as PMS help individuals specify information they want to receive, how often and through which marketing channels. It flips traditional brand communication and puts the recipient in control by letting them decide when can a business sends them a notification. It also allows companies to easily analyze data to determine which communication preferences customers choose and then match their marketing strategy to it. With preference management, you empower customers not only to communicate the way they prefer but you also ensure it’s done in a legal, compliant way.
- Awareness about the existence of Personal data monitoring systems (PDMS) could enable individuals to monitor the use of their personal data by multiple third party providers. It may also analyze patterns of authorized and unauthorized access to identify potential risks as well as highlight instances of misuse. As a result of constant monitoring of data access events by such systems, users can expect to see a complete record of how their data has been used in the past, by whom, for which purpose and for how long. Any deviations from user’s consents can be reported to concerned authorities. Such tools have the power to bring in huge transparency in the world of data sharing practices followed by organizations. This will force them to let go complex privacy policies and offer a clear as well as specific mention of the kinds of data collected and their usage.
Of all the fundamental rights, the Right to Privacy is possibly the most complex. While the global debate on this topic has evolved over the last few years, there is still no universally accepted definition of privacy. However, there is now an increasing alignment on the potential risks associated with lack of it- especially in the digital age when people share a lot of personal data online. Looking at the future, there are multiple possible pathways that could lead to different further evolution. Irrespective of the approach we take, coordinated efforts need to be made to build each pathway on the core principles of transparency, fair value, informed consent and accountability.
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