Data privacy instruments

Data Privacy Instruments - Advice for Businesses and Consumers

Data privacy issues have exploded in seriousness in the last few years, which turned data breaches into a prominent topic of discussion. Businesses, both online and offline, now have to seriously consider data privacy and how their consumers' information is handled. With regulations such as GDPR rearing their head, this topic cannot be avoided.

In this article, we look at a range of aspects relating to data privacy. We delve into instances where trusted sites such as Yahoo have experienced data breaches. We also cover some common data privacy practices, and how technology is changing the way sensitive data is managed.

Nothing is perfect

To understand how important data privacy is, we have listed a handful of serious hacks that have resulted in tones of private data being exposed. The following breaches outline just how vital it is to utilize appropriate instruments and ensure your security is impeccable.

Yahoo – 2013

Users affected - 500M
Between 2013-14, the company was attacked by what they claimed to be a state-sponsored actor – essentially they believe that this was an attack perpetrated by someone who had governmental backing. What was the result of this attack? User account details were stolen including names, emails, contact numbers and even dates of birth. In some instances, passwords were compromised too. This reportedly affected the value of the business by $350 million.

eBay – 2014

Users affected - 145M
The famous P2P retailer suffered a huge data breach in May 2014, when their systems were hacked. It was reported that the hackers obtained real employee credentials and used them to gain virtually unlimited access to the internal network. This attack supposedly had little impact on the company's profits, but user activity on the website took a sharp decline in the immediate aftermath.

Uber – 2016

Users affected - 57M
This modern taxi service had an immense breach during the last quarter of 2016. It came to light that cyber criminals had access to the systems and were able to steal usernames, email addresses and mobile numbers of customers. Furthermore, they obtained the information of over 600,000 registered drivers including their licenses. As a result, the companies value took a drop of $20 million – they even paid the intruders $100,000 to destroy the stolen information!

General practices for data privacy

As you can see, data privacy breaches can have huge ramifications to a business. The consequences of failing to provide adequate data protection can be catastrophic. This is why it is so important to understand proper practices, and also your rights as a consumer. The following is a breakdown of what businesses and consumers should be aware of regarding data privacy.

Data privacy for businesses

As a business you must take customer data seriously. You must first outline your data privacy needs. To do this, it is advisable to perform an audit to assess exactly what data you collect and how you collect it. Once you have the results of this audit, you can proceed to creating a privacy policy. This policy should state in great detail how you collect data, how it will be used, and how you will store and secure it.

Aside from the privacy policy, you should also be versed in the current data privacy laws and regulations. Ensure that you are in compliance and that you are using the latest security technologies to protect your consumer's data.

Data privacy for consumers

As a consumer you must be aware of your rights. Businesses have a legal obligation to protect your data and explicitly state how they will use it.

When submitting personal information such as an email address or contact details, you should have access to a privacy policy. You should be able to clearly see how the data you have submitted is being used. You should also be able to see how it is being stored and who it is distributed too. If these details are not clear, we would advise against giving your information as there is no guarantee of its security.

Related article: How New GDPR Rules Will Affect Your Online Business

How advanced technology can change the way we manage sensitive data

In today's world of advanced technology, we have a myriad of new processes that could radically change how we manage data. Businesses are now actively using new tech solutions for security purposes. The following are three technologies that could have a huge impact on data privacy and should be given consideration for businesses:

  • Biometrics – Biometrics is a form of technology that utilizes human characteristic as identifiers. For example, we have fingerprint scanning functionality on smartphones or facial recognition. If you use any form of biometric scanning, you must be aware of what you can do with this data. Under the GDPR regulations, biometric data cannot be processed or stored in any way unless the explicit consent has been given.

    Over 60% of companies already use biometric authentication to minimize the risk of hacking. These are banks and healthcare institutions mostly.

  • Blockchain – Blockchain technology is slowly taking over the world. This technology offers a huge level of security and non-repudiation of data. Transactions and information are stored on a public ledger that can only be accessed using encryption. Blockchain technology offers a viable means of securely transferring and storing sensitive data. We can expect more businesses to make use of this technology in the near future.

    The likes of Microsoft, IBM, Fidelity Investments are exploring blockchain for data storage and management. Meanwhile, entertainment sites are now using it for secure crypto payments.

  • Artificial Intelligence – AI is being used throughout online businesses. It is an important tool for research and data gathering. Using AI, businesses can analyse a vast amount of data in a short time period. When it comes to security, AI algorithms can help businesses detect any suspicious traffic, fraudulent activity, or spam attack through data pattern analysis and recognition. For instance, Google's Gmail is powered by AI solutions to identify spam messages.

Related article: All You Need to Know About Public & Private Blockchains

Conclusion

We hope you have found this article useful. You should now have a clearer idea of data privacy instruments and how they affect modern businesses. As a consumer, you should understand your rights and be clear on how your data is used. As a business, you should ensure your data privacy processes are up to date and efficient.

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