Privacy has become a mainstream issue but it won’t matter. Privacy is a mess. Google and Facebook make tens of billions in profits each year thanks to their users giving a way rights to personal privacy. Both now have a way for users to view information collected about them, but nobody gets access to all the information that has been collected on an ongoing effort to cull data from unsuspecting users.
In an interesting twist, European authorities seem more protective of personal rights and privacy than politicians in the U.S., hence their General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR. You might think someone has your back when it comes to privacy, but reality bites.
GDPR will create messes of its own.
GDPR is tough and the punishment for non-compliance is draconian. For example, a breach of record-keeping obligations incurs a fine of 10 million euros or 2 percent of global income, whichever is more. Infringing people’s data rights or any sort of unlawful transfers of data out of the EU results in a fine of 20 million euros or 4 percent of global income, whichever is higher.
Ouch. Draconian indeed.
I find it difficult to believe that large data collectors will not be attacked for violations because individuals can sue for anything they think is a violation of their rights.
Business processes that handle personal data must be built with privacy by design and by default, meaning that personal data must be stored using pseudonymisation or full anonymization, and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately.
Translation: “Scrub the data of personally identifying information.”
Hey. Wait. Doesn’t Apple do that already?
Massive amounts of user and customer data are needed for technology gadget makers and online social networks and search engine advertising giants to stay in business and make a profit. The problem arises when those companies collect so much data that they can determine exactly who you are, where you live, how much money you have, where you work, and more.
Apple collects information, too, but years ago decided to anonymize the data and to do as much data processing as possible on the device. The end result is that Apple could rightfully say it is the privacy company.
Why doesn’t Apple say that?
Apple is afraid the company will be attacked. Think publicly– a public relations mess of monstrous proportions; and, privately– whereby customer information is attacked and captured.
So, Apple takes a somewhat low profile regarding privacy– high enough to poke Google and Facebook in public, but not so high that Apple’s privacy efforts show up in television commercials that would attract too much attention.
Privacy and security are huge issues of our time and both Google and Facebook will do little to thwart their data collection and usage efforts, and Apple will do little to let the world know there is a better way.