Privacy trends 2014

Technology trends have privacy implications

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In 2014, the accelerating speed of technological advances is now an unquestioning reality.

It is fundamentally transforming every aspect of our personal and business lives, every industry, and every country across the globe. However, it also has the effect of fundamentally transforming the notion of privacy — what it means to affected stakeholders (individuals, regulators, organizations) and how each party can remain accountable in a world that technology has turned on its head.

We believe seven technology trends will have the most significant privacy implications:

Current technologies

  • Digital devices and BYOD: Organizations need to maintain ownership of their information. With bring your own device (BYOD) policies, this information is stored on devices that now sit outside the organization’s immediate control. To keep an eye on their data, organizations tend to install monitoring tools on employee smartphones. However, when implementing these tools, organizations need to be very careful that they are only monitoring the company’s data and not collecting personal information about their employees and others who may use the device
  • Social media: As more organizations learn how to use the data they gather from social media to target individual customers, they will devote more ad buys in this direction. Organizations need to be vigilant when collecting data. Consumers are voluntarily providing intimate details about themselves. Organizations need to respect their privacy, even when the consumers themselves aren’t, by anonymizing the data before using and sharing it.

Technologies around the corner

  • Big data and data analytics: Organizations should make anonymization of big data a priority before using it for analytical activities. Organizations need to verify that the sources they intend to use have appropriate permissions from the users who provided the data to perform any additional analytic activities. Even where those permissions exist, it is critical to minimize the exposure of identifiable elements as the data is handled and shared, even within the organization.
  • Cloud service brokerage: As the use of cloud services within organizations proliferates, and the procurement of these services increasingly occurs outside of IT, we expect to see a continuing rise in the use of cloud service brokers. However, before turning to a cloud service broker, organizations must first verify that the use of a cloud service broker does not in any way derogate the level of information protection.
  • Bring your own cloud (BYOC): We expect to see many more departments within organizations engaging in BYOC. However, just as IT departments everywhere learned with personal devices and social media, IT cannot police BYOC by banning it. Instead, organizations need to proactively establish clear protocols that outline security and privacy standards.

Technologies on the horizon

  • In-memory computing: In-memory computing is the storage of information in the main random access memory (RAM) of dedicated servers rather than in complicated relational databases. It enables users to develop applications that can perform complex transactions in a more scalable way — and with the feeling of an instantaneous response. By creating a privacy framework, organizations can create a foundation for privacy that is flexible and scalable enough to adapt as new technologies like this emerge.
  • The ‘internet of things’: As organizations begin to think about the endless possibilities associated with nanotechnology, product sensors, sensor-driven analytics and sophisticated tracking capabilities, they also need to think about the privacy risks. This promise of these emerging technologies needs to be balanced against the privacy that consumers innately expect, and the privacy that they will demand alongside their customized customer experience.