With the advancement in big data and cloud technologies, personal data privacy issue has become more urgent than ever.
Traditionally privacy-sensitive industries, such as healthcare and finance, have long been relying on legislation in terms of data privacy protection. However, though, as we are on the cusp of a tectonic shift in the way we deal with the sensitive information, it may need a substantial update.
For instance, healthcare has become a platform for introducing the IoT technologies. This means, for example, that health records will now be stored online to be easily accessed by the patients from their own devices. Though heavily protected, they may, theoretically, fall into the hands of the wrong people (careless employees, for example). It implies a totally different legal approach to data privacy protection has to be applied.
However, until a new legal foundation is created, consumer privacy is at risk. Legislation gaps inevitably cause situations when third-party brokers gain an unauthorized access to the sensitive data, and use it for targeted advertising of their goods and services, or in any other way they are not entitled to. Sounds scary, but nowadays, when practically every speck of information can be used to identify a particular person, we are as reachable to the bad guys as never before.
As technology is penetrating into each and every sphere of our life, more industries start facing the issue of protecting data privacy. The thing is that a smooth legislative path hasn’t yet been paved for them.
Pitfalls of the US privacy legislation
Let’s get one thing straight: there is no unified legal framework for data privacy protection in the US.
The data privacy protection forum held at MIT, in March 2016 manifested a split between the US lawmakers, Silicon Valley representatives, and tech industry lobbying organizations. Though, consumer data privacy remained a number one priority by default, representatives of tech companies voiced their concerns that too many regulations might hinder the technological progress.
The history of the legislators-manufacturers relationship in the context of data privacy showcased that the national government is likely to play safe when it comes to the technologies they are not well-versed in. In 2012 and 2015 respectively, the outgoing President Barak Obama - known for being tech-savvy - made two attempts to enable a set of privacy guidelines and principles known as the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. It would have advised manufacturers on how to deal with the sensitive information, and served as a protective shield for consumers. However, it was never enacted.
In the meantime, driven by the mind-blowing opportunities of where technologies can take the mankind to are not willing to be restrained by the government hesitancy. Such major players as Google and Facebook support the vision that privacy issues should primarily be controlled by customers, while companies should make their privacy policies public to enlighten users on how their personal information is going to be handled. On the other hand, major Silicon Valley stakeholders are worried the new administration may want to have access to the users’ data. Here the consumer bill of rights might come in handy.
While debates between legislators and tech representatives are heating up, another question arises: what to do with those industries where the issue of personal data privacy protection has never lied on the surface till the moment?
Let’s consider automobile industry. We are about to witness a revolution in the way we perceive transportation itself, and a vehicle as a means of transportation.
Modern cars are practically safe havens in terms of accident prevention, but instead, they have become too vulnerable to external intrusion.
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