At Mitratech, I work in the division of the company that develops solutions in the areas of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC). At first blush to an outsider, this may not sound very exciting and might even sound somewhat boring, but actually it’s quite the opposite. The reason why it’s exciting is because in GRC we are constantly immersed in many of the hottest topics that you see in the in news and headlines today. Up this week? The issue of data privacy.
Data privacy – on everyone’s mind
One topic that’s particularly hot is Data Privacy. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in the world, data privacy always seems to be in the news. This year especially, I think it’s safe to say that the EU’s General Protection Data Regulation (GDPR) dominated the headlines globally, especially in the first half of the year leading up to the ominous May 25th date when GDPR went into effect.
GDPR has been characterized as one of the toughest and most onerous regulations on the books when it comes to end users having more protection and control of their own personal data. Even though this is an EU regulation, it actually has impact globally because any company that deals with the personal data of an EU citizen will have to abide by the GDPR, regardless of where in the world the company is located. The financial penalty for noncompliance is steep, at up to 4% of a company’s global revenue – if Google violated the rules, for example, fines could be more than $4 billion since its parent company, Alphabet, had more than $110 billion in revenue in 2017.
Facebook continues reeling after the Cambridge Analytica debacle
GDPR in the European Union hasn’t been the only headline this year as it relates to data privacy. Just look at all the news about Facebook and the fallout from how Cambridge Analytica gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users.
Since that time, Facebook has been under fire from every conceivable angle and they’re doing a full court press on damage control since then. Still, Facebook’s market cap dropped by nearly $120 billion recently, marking the biggest loss by a company in stock market history. This was the first full financial report since Facebook became embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In addition, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal net worth dropped by nearly $17 billion, and now Facebook investors want to strip Zuckerberg of his Chairman title. This scandal was so big that it spawned state and federal discussions about the U.S. having stronger and more stringent data privacy laws similar to GDPR.
California’s new Consumer Privacy Act mirrors many aspects of GDPR
California, which happens to be the world’s fifth-largest economy, has moved first and developed a new version of their Consumer Privacy Act that is conceptually modeled after the EU’s GDPR. Some say that California’s new law is even more stringent and requires more work to be done by American companies than European companies are required to do under GDPR – even though it is more streamlined and has less articles. This new California law is set to take effect on January 1, 2020.
Big Data continues to grow and data privacy will continue to be a hot topic
One thing we know for sure is that big data isn’t going away. In fact, it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.
As we continue to evolve a more digitally connected world, every interaction creates a trackable and highly sought-after piece of data. This is much bigger and more involved than just data associated with your desktop; think about tablets, fitness devices, smartphones, smartwatches, virtual assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and the growing popularity of virtually any of our appliances and devices becoming connected now through the Internet of Things (IoT).
As we create exponentially more data, the need for data privacy protection will continue to increase in importance. We’ve seen horribly negative consequences when personal data gets into the wrong hands; personal lives are ruined, identities stolen, company brands are badly damaged, voters are manipulated, and the list goes on and on.
At Mitratech, we know how important data privacy is and we believe in the value and sanctity of every byte of personal or sensitive data. That’s why we work on solutions that help companies not only protect their customers’ personal data, but also protect their brand reputation and create a meaningful culture of ethics and compliance.
For more information about our data privacy solutions, click here.
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