It’s Data Privacy Day, and the topic of personal data and privacy is on everyone’s minds these days. Data Privacy Day is a global day—every January 28th the day reinforces the importance of data privacy and the dire need to enact more protections while remaining vigilant. The mission behind Data Privacy Day is to remind users and businesses on privacy best practices for today’s connected, digital age. Data Privacy Day was launched in the United States and Canada in 2008, however; European counterparts have observed and promoted Data Privacy Day since 1981.  And while regulations rapidly evolve over the decades, the core message driving Data Privacy Day is unchanging—data privacy is a right.

Data Privacy Day highlights the growing lack of privacy across platforms and software. With data surpassing the worth of oil back in 2017, more businesses are using personal data online and offline to predict future moves.

Users across the board are outraged by compromised data.

New research shows that more than half of users, 57% are blindsided and even outraged, that tech giants like Facebook are selling their data onto third-party organizations, without express permission. And while social media users have already accepted privacy policy terms to set up their accounts, almost a third wouldn’t agree to the same privacy conditions today with deeper insights into what’s behind them and how their personal data is compromised.

Maybe the biggest shocker? Zennials, the social-media savviest generation with an abundant and growing presence across TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and more, are the least cognizant about existing data-sharing practices. In fact, one in four were surprised that their personal data is being shared with other entities without their express permission. Compare that to just 16% of those from ages 45-55  who aren’t shocked by these numbers at all.

With some apps able to access and sell users’ search history, posts, and even private messages, the stark reality behind data harvesting breaks down to about 52,000 characters per user. If you’re online in any capacity, you have a data profile, one that you cannot access, alter, or remove. Data is forever.

 

 

Why is data harvesting still legal?

Great question. Especially considering that the debate over data privacy has rattled on across continents for decades. The active debate reinforced on Data Privacy Day has taken center stage across platforms by tech thought leaders, data privacy advocates, and yes, governments. In the United States, members from both sides of the political aisle have expressed deep concern about the lack of transparency in how user data is used to fuel business growth and the general deficit of data privacy in general. Currently, U.S. House members and the Biden administration are working to combat the issue of data privacy and framing its harmful impact across vulnerable communities as a civil rights violation.

With the advent of data analytics, predictive analytics, machine learning, and AI analytical tools, many businesses are predicting what consumers will do before they ever do it. This makes consumers more vulnerable to targeted sales and marketing strategies at a time when inflation and the rising cost of goods and higher interest rates around the corner make smarter spending key.

Some data mining can empower social good, just look at navigating Supply Chain shortages with anticipated demand levels.

More technology leaders are calling for deeper transparency and the ability for users to own and manage their data.

“Across the globe, millions of people cannot view, edit or delete how they are profiled online. They have zero share in the billions of dollars generated from brands selling very personal information,” explains Justin Trevan, Co-Founder of data privacy organization, LetAlone. “Some companies claim to share profits from trading user data, but simply selling user data perpetuates the issue; as soon as you’ve sold it, others own it, and the user is no longer in control.”

“At LetAlone we want to give the power back to the people, providing web users with full visibility, control, and ownership of their data, so they can choose how and where access is provided to it, and to whom that access is allowed, but without ever selling the data on to third parties or allowing corporate data hoarding.

We want people to join our fight and be the first to access and use the beta platform where you will gain monetary benefits from allowing access to data.”

Data privacy advocates are growing in numbers.

When it comes to Data Privacy Day, there’s an active dialogue around where to draw the line. Predictive data analytics, AI, and machine learning can help communities by fueling more intelligent supply chains to ensure consumers and businesses have their everyday needs covered. So, where do you draw the line?

Perhaps, we should expect to see some regulations around how data is shared and for what purpose. For now, however; users have no insight or say into data privacy. In our interconnected, digital marketplace and work enterprise, consumers rely on the internet and applications more than ever.

Education is everything.

Currently, education is our greatest tool to act with as consumers and businesses. Today is a great day to become more aware of which data of yours is being shared and sold. As a business technology leader, Data Privacy Day is a good reminder to be transparent with users on how their data is used and to educate your workforce.

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