Why you need to start taking your data privacy seriously
How many times have you agreed to T&C’s without reading a word?
How many times have you signed up to applications or websites only to delete them a couple of days later?
Our data is getting out there when we’re sharing our location with family members, tagging our friends in Instagram posts, or linking all of our accounts through our Facebook or Google accounts. It’s become so normal that we don’t even think about what we’re doing. Perhaps we are the most automated ‘machines’ in the digital realm.
Despite the speed of data transmission and the amplified benefits that technology and the internet brings, it’s often overlooked that the internet isn’t a safe place for our personal information and data.
Data privacy and democratisation
In March 2018, an infamous news story involving Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, woke the world up to data privacy. It was reported that during the two prior years leading up to the American elections, Facebook had sold the data of 87 million users in the United States to data warehouse company, Cambridge Analytica. This data was harvested and manipulated for every user. This story was cemented in January 2019 when a documentary called ‘The Great Hack’ was released on Netflix. Ever since, the data privacy conversation has been a rife debate.
Corporations that store individuals’ data can monetise this, earning massive amounts of revenue through data analysis that seeks to understand customer preferences and consumer habits. However, the individual who ‘provides’ this data sees no reward for their information being utilised.
Enter data democratisation which refers to making data and information freely available to all, eradicating bottlenecks and gatekeepers that create a block.
The digital trap
For almost 60% of the world’s population, creating, maintaining and leaving our digital footprint is part of our daily lives. We’ve fallen into the digital trap. This is why individuals need to take steps to ensure that the technology that we interact with comes from reputable sources of development.
In essence, the data lifecycle can be viewed as a three-stage process:
- Data challenges. This is where big-data has played its role and the V-suite of data exists: volume, velocity, variety, and value of data
- Process challenges. How can this data be cleaned-up, analysed and interpreted?
- Management challenges. Who owns this data, how is it secured, what privacy measures are in place and how is it stored and shared
The big question we need to be asking is this: Are those housing our data acting ethically and legally concerning the information of individuals?
Actions towards a safer online environment are well underway with laws being put in place to protect the user such as the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) for Europe which came into effect in May 2018.
These legal consequences have impacted how data is used and stored and we’re seeing businesses adapting technology stacks and architectures to accommodate for privacy-preserving web and mobile applications and systems.
As we edge closer to this privacy-preserving digital sphere, phrases such as ‘data privacy’ and ‘self-sovereign identity’ are becoming more and more prominent, being labelled as the buzzwords of software development. Companies are realising that they can no longer hide behind ambiguous privacy policies and that their intentions with your data storage, transmission and use need to be made transparent, leaving no room for misunderstandings.
Harsh data legislations are ensuring that technology-based businesses are maintaining compliance with users data privacy, making certain that they abide by the following data principles:
- Users know what personal data is being stored and where
- Users can edit their data and information
- Users are notified if their data is used for alternative purposes than otherwise originally stated
- User consent is gained should their information be transmitted or used
Combatting data privacy at The Delta
At the Delta, emphasis is placed on building in Trusted Execution Environments to ensure data integrity and strict confidentiality, utilising cryptographic methods to ensure private information is only available to those who own the private key as well as employing self-sovereign identities through blockchain technology to give users complete ownership of their digital identity.
The internet will never be a safe place, but at The Delta, we’re always working to make it safer for you.
If you’re wondering what you can do to protect your privacy online, here are some tips:
- Install reliable security apps on all devices
- Use a VPN like NordVPN when using public wifi
- Close accounts you no longer use
- Avoid oversharing on social media
- Protect your passwords with a secure password manager like Bitwarden
- Stop using the same password for every account!
Do you have any good data privacy tips we’ve missed? Let us know on LinkedIn.