Observing data privacy day: The importance of protecting personal information in the digital age

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Observing data privacy day: The importance of protecting personal information in the digital age

  • Data Privacy Day falls on January 28th, emphasizing the significance of safeguarding personal data.
  • The digital economy is already worth around US$ 3 trillion, growing at an unprecedented speed and scale.

Data Privacy Day, observed annually on January 28th, serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting personal information and the potential consequences of its misuse. As technology advances and more personal information is shared online, individuals and organizations must prioritize data privacy.

Data has become the most valuable resource in the new economy, and it’s expected to be even more valuable in the future. The digital economy is already worth around US$ 3 trillion, growing at an unprecedented speed and scale.

Hyper-connectivity, the growing interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines, is the backbone of the digital economy. By 2022, it is predicted that 60% of global GDP will be digitalized, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships.

As the digital economy continues to rapidly expand, with an estimated 60-70% of the new value coming from data-driven, digitally enabled networks and platforms, protecting personal data becomes increasingly vital in Southeast Asia. Countries in the region are working to balance the growth of the digital economy with the need to safeguard individuals’ information, making data privacy a crucial and evolving concern.

Recently, many countries in Southeast Asia have begun to enact or strengthen laws to protect personal data. For example, Indonesia established the Personal Data Protection Law (PDP Law) in September 2022, which is closely modeled after the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations and modernizes Indonesia’s approach to data privacy. Additionally, in June 2022, Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) came into effect, providing rights and protections for data subjects and outlining requirements for the collection and international transfer of personal data.

Data Privacy Day is a reminder of the ongoing need to prioritize data privacy in the digital age. Several experts shared their views with Tech Wire Asia on the importance of laws protecting personal data.

Allen Downs, Vice President Security and Resiliency Services, Kyndryl – Enterprise data has become significantly more diverse, dynamic and distributed while growing exponentially in volume. Data protection strategies must be robust enough to manage this volume increase while protecting against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and data corruption. A wholesale approach and change in strategy and architectural designs and the use of immutable storage, air gapping and active data protection is key to ensuring that enterprises can recover clean data.

As work becomes more digital, business systems and processes are becoming even more connected. This interconnectivity increases the risk of a small event in one part of a company having a major disruptive impact across the entire organization. A data protection solution that can conduct a swift and efficient cyber backup, and restore and maintain access to critical data is essential in today’s digital age to protect data now and in the future.

Jonathan Knudsen, Head of Global Research at CyRC, Synopsys SIG – Privacy can only happen when the confidentiality and integrity of data is protected. In software, the only way to effectively protect data is by making security part of every phase of development, from design through implementation, testing, and deployment—thus, building trust directly into the software they rely on and offer to customers.

For consumers, making informed decisions about privacy can be daunting. It’s nearly impossible to know if the creator of a particular piece of software was careful about privacy when they were designing and building the software. Furthermore, a software vendor’s desire to monetize user data might mean that user expectations around privacy will far exceed what’s laid out in the terms and conditions.

One of the best ways consumers can protect themselves is by adjusting their expectations. For many applications, especially social media and other “free” services, users should not assume any level of privacy. When services are free, consumers are the product, and any data they enter into such a service is likely to be used and monetized as much as the terms and conditions allow.

Scott Harkey, EVP, Financial Services & Payments, Endava – The global digital payments market continues to expand rapidly as we edge closer to a cashless society and see payments increasingly embedded in the products and services we consume. Technology is fueling the digital revolution in e-commerce but people – and their sensitive data – lie at the heart of this innovation. Personal data is the golden asset which companies are increasingly looking to leverage, from apps powered by this data to embedded financial transactions using saved customer information.

Observing data privacy day: The importance of protecting personal information in the digital age

Source – Shutterstock

Organizations need to put practices in place to secure consumer data from the very beginning of collection. Tokenization can play a huge role here. While originally used for Personally Identifiable Information (PII), any data can be tokenized. Organizations need to consider how they start using these tools at data capture and how they communicate to customers that their data is secure. Investing in innovative tools that prioritize built-in regulation features will win the day and the public trust.

Andy Teichholz, Global Industry Strategist, Compliance & Legal at OpenText – While government authorities and businesses have been challenged during the pandemic with balancing the twin priorities of protecting public health and personal data, consumers have become more aware of the growing risks around their data, including where it may end up and who has access to it.

With ongoing news coverage of high-profile data breaches and publicity around new government legislation on the horizon, consumers are more aware than ever before of their data privacy rights and organizational obligations to safeguard personal data. Our recent research found that almost nine in ten (85%) of consumers say they have new concerns about how organizations use their data, since the start of the pandemic.

Customer trust is crucial for business success but gaining and maintaining that trust is not always easy. More than a third of consumers (35%) say they would no longer use or buy from a company they were previously loyal to if it failed to protect or leak their data. In today’s digital age, consumer priorities are rapidly shifting to take stock of how their data is being processed and used. To this end, customers are more empowered than ever to exercise their rights and reclaim control of their information by submitting Subject Rights Requests (SRRs), with our research showing that more than a third (35%) of consumers would completely abandon a brand if the company failed to respond to a SRR.

With the help of available technologies, including AI and ML tools, organizations can locate all personal and sensitive information, appropriately classify, manage, and protect it throughout its lifecycle, and apply policy-based retention tools to support data minimization. To create a true information advantage, establishing an integrated data management strategy will also help businesses differentiate themselves in the marketplace.