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The Future Of Compliance And Data Gathering



Would you believe that we've generated more data over the last two years than we have since the beginning of mankind? This pace is bound to increase with more footprints and users on the internet every single day.


Many people are beginning to use internet tools and there has been wide adoption of digital solutions all over the world. For every social media post, for every Google search, for every purchase made, for every website visited, for every click on the internet, we are generating data. This data is left in the hands of the organizations we buy from, and the social media sites and websites we visit.


The use of this data has become a source of major concern, due to some of the major and public breaches that have brought individual privacy concerns and data protection to the forefront. But, the reality is that the more data researchers have access to, the better they can improve technology.

So what are people so worried about? And how do we put some standards in between the need to gather data and our privacy?


Growing Data Concerns


Countless organizations have been affected by data breaches, from startups to established organizations. It is reported that about 4.8 million data records are stolen every single day. However, data breaches are just one part of the prevalent and growing data concerns.

Many known websites and services make their money from advertising. They sell customer data to advertisers who then deliver personalized ads based on the data of these customers. There is a popular saying that if a service is free, the users are the product.


Social media giants generate data every single minute. Users on Facebook send an average of over 31 million messages and view almost 3 million videos every single minute. The recent breach involving Cambridge Analytics caused a stir around the globe. The analytics company gathered data from over 50 million Facebook profiles, all without permission. They then built algorithms that targeted voters with political adverts based on psychological profiles that were created based on the data harvested. Facebook has also revealed it was aware of the breach long before it became public.


Search is another area where a lot of data is generated. Google, who is at the forefront of the search industry, processes over 40,000 search queries per second, equivalent to over one trillion searches each year. Google is famous for its most profitable advertising business, Google Adwords. This is Google’s leading profit generator and it is based on personalized adverts targeted at users. Many people have called for Google to reveal how much information is shared with advertisers and what this data is used to do.


Many organizations and businesses have been adopting cloud storage for their business data. However, there have been growing concerns about this as there are only a few cloud storage providers, and it is uncertain if they have access to this data. The Cloud is also a relatively novel technology, so its limitations and security challenges are also still suspect for some.


Regulations So Far


The recent breaches and growing concerns have led to the need for government to create regulations concerning how users’ data is used by organizations. The recent and most popular is the General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation is aimed at making businesses protect and guard users’ privacy and their personal data within the European Union, as well as the European Economic Area. Noncompliance is very costly to companies and the regulations seek to make sure companies are both aware and compliant.


Also, the state of California has introduced an act called the California Consumer Privacy Act that seeks to protect users’ data and privacy. Several other governments are developing acts, regulations and regulatory bodies that will protect users’ privacy and the use of users’ data.


The Future Of Data Gathering & Selling


There is a need to gather data in order to improve technology. However, there is an equal need to protect users and ensure their information is not left vulnerable. The increasing number of regulations all seek to put the users’ data back in their control, and rightly so. Users should be able to know how much of their data is being collected, what the data is being used for, and who the data is being sold to, if anyone.


Many organizations have been fighting back against such regulations. For instance, Google has opposed the California Consumer Privacy Act.


The future of data gathering and selling has to be focused on the users. Users have to come first in this data war. It is important for governments and organizations to strike a balance between the need to gather and sell data, and the need to protect the owners of this data.

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