Privacy and data protection are one of the biggest concerns for everyone from individuals to enterprises to law enforcement authorities to even governments in the modern, technology-run ecosystem. Data breaches across the globe are evidence of the gaping holes that exist in even the best of the security systems.
United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in its Article 12 that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his GDPR privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” So, GDPR privacy is a human right. But, with personal data of people spread across apps and websites around the globe, the threats to GDPR privacy have multiplied.
Governments across the world are growing wary of these concerns. To combat this rapidly worsening challenge, comprehensive laws like the GDPR privacy are being formulated. In order to be able appreciate the significance of these actions, people must first understand and appreciate the significance of GDPR privacy and how it affects them.
Privacy is Power
There is no better example to explain this than election targeting. Election campaigns are at their core marketing campaigns. So, it completely makes sense that they use the very same principles that businesses and personalities use to market their products. Like marketing campaigns, election campaigns to use big data to analyze their voters and then figure out how to target each category of voters. They can reach out to each voter with customized messages that talk about the issues that they care about the most. While in the case of a marketing campaign, the result is the successful sale of a product, for an election campaign, the end result is the country getting a new leader who decides its fate. That’s a lot of power.
The most popular and recent example of this is the Trump’s Presidential campaign in 2016. With the candidate sitting in the White House, the success of such targeting is hardly questionable. But, the scary part is that Trump was not the first candidate who used such voter targeting and he most certainly will not be the last. In 2015, when Cambridge Analytica came to the limelight, it revealed that it has 5000 data points on every American, which allows it to create a complete personality profile. So, they know how people think, which makes it easier for them to sway them as they like.
Privacy is Freedom
How about watching an advert that is tailored specifically to your emotions? It’s not a futuristic fantasy anymore. Such advertising is already happening. Jaguar used emotion detection technologies during the Wimbledon. They used sensors to analyze the emotions of the fans watching the game. They could then sense the pulse of the players. This campaign was called the #FeelWimbledon campaign. Such emotion detection technologies are limited to public spaces.
The idea is that emotions are personal. They define how people express themselves. In the current world where technologies are advanced enough to understand human emotions, it is more and more difficult to understand the difference between an original thought and a manipulation of the thought process. So, organizations can use these technologies to sell a particular set of products and services in a way that appeals to their consumers’ moods. Clearly, this is a serious blow to the very freedom to think and even emote.
Privacy is Control
Data collection never stops. Amazon has become the digital warehouse of people’s shopping patterns. They can recommend customers products that they did not search for but will end up buying. Facebook has become the trendsetter that meticulously keeps a stock of what people like and don’t. Then there is Google that knows what people search and do in their life. That is a lot of information and it all comes from the data points they collect. By agreeing to GDPR privacy policies that permit apps to collect all the personal data, people are not only losing control of their data, they are also renouncing their right to how that data is processed.
It is difficult in the times of the internet to not share personal information with platforms like these because they have become a necessity. That is precisely why data protection laws have been put in place. The latest and the most extensive regulatory reform is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It puts a lot of restrictions on data controllers that collect and process the data in large volumes. It puts the control back in the hands of the data subjects. They get to decide who gets to keep their data and how they process it.
Privacy is Safety
Data brokers is a real term today. These are people and organizations that have access to a disturbing amount of information about people. What’s more worrisome is that they are selling this data. This information is sold in the open market to organizations, governments, and even individuals for the right price. People today are giving out personal information for discounts, better experience, or for the sake of a free coupon. This directly threatens the safety of people. Their data points say a lot about them, from their taste in food to their credit card numbers to their sexual preferences.
GDPR Privacy is about safety, freedom, control, and power. It is becoming more and more relevant as technology is making deeper inroads into the lives of people. The only way to preserve GDPR privacy is to be more educated and vigilant about the modern world. Ironically, it is the continuous barrage of online breaches, voter micro-targeting, data brokerage, and more such news that have made GDPR privacy a hot topic of discussion. This has led to better GDPR privacy protection laws, heftier fines, and stricter sanctions over organizations that indulge in the abuse of privacy. As the understanding around privacy improves, so will the laws protecting it.