Another Day, Another Event – This Time, Privacy

With another day comes another event for Exonar, this time it was Privacy: The Competitive Advantage. Hosted in Microsoft’s Paddington office, the event was conceived to highlight the state of play in data protection and the safeguards put in place. As John Taysom, Senior ALI fellow at Harvard University, reminded all in attendance; ‘Big Data is a Euphemism for data about you.’ With this in mind, we are reminded that it has now become cheaper to store data permanently rather than to actually find personal data and delete it. With potential fines of up to 4% of global revenue if companies disregard data privacy and are found to have negligently lost person data on EU citizens in GDPR, solutions are needed.

Silicon Valley companies realised early on that data is the new capital and in response cornered the market in a relatively short period of time. With this in mind the EU is fighting back and could create a serious challenge to the current data ‘land grab’. They state that no data is allowed to leave the EU and be targeted by third parties without consent. It is in light of this that data management now requires a change of culture and mindset; companies who hold personal data may be liable to huge fines should the regulators deem companies are complicit in abusing the personal information.

One of the main themes of the day considered how the individual can leverage their data value when their data is only valuable when compared with a significant volume of data. ARM’s Ian Ferguson shed light on the fact that personal data is owned by the individual and needs to be shared only with their consent, meanwhile the Industry needs to gain trust and secure the data. Highlighting the fact that hackers will find a backdoor and that Data leaks are a problem, Ferguson went on to reiterate that the industry needs to earn the right to hold your data and should lose that right if they cannot secure it. Amit Pau from Ariadne Capital sees opportunity in data privacy and a change of world order. Millennials are deemed much more savvy and able to recognise that they, the consumer, are in control of their personal data. If they get value from apps then they will expect companies to exploit that.

Steve Wood, head of Policy Delivery at the ICO, presented the facts, that fines represent a significant increase on the previous maximum fine of £500K.  Data controllers need to demonstrate how they comply with the law and an implementation plan for data Privacy. With this in mind, the event illustrated the fact that legislation is catching up with the market for data and it is trying to readdress the balance of exploitation for benefit or the protection of the European public. We should hope that in a post Brexit world the data of British citizens is equally looked after.
By Jason Phelps