We need the ability to trust that our privacy is protected
Over the past several years the amount of digital data we generate has exploded at near exponential rates. We now collectively generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day, send 65 billion messages, and the world’s more than three billion smartphone owners each access their phones more than 200 times per day — sometimes communicating, banking, dating, searching, or doing other things we may want to keep private. As a result, there is more sensitive and private information being generated throughout more parts of our lives.
While people want control of their data, too often they don’t feel like they have it. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of Americans feel as if they lack control of data collected about them by companies or the government. This broad public concern about the loss of control of their data has led to a great privacy awakening and expanded interest in a more trusted digital ecosystem where privacy protection can be a basic digital right, where clear boundaries exist around what is collected, processed, tracked and shared, and where users have the tools they need to control their own data.
When 86% of consumers say they feel a growing concern about data privacy, we should all understand that building a trusted future will require new strategies that empower people with the tools they need to regain a sense of control over their personal data, and the ability to prevent tracking across the internet. When people feel protected from misuse of their personal information, they are more likely to engage in commerce, participate in the political process, seek needed health care, and take advantage of tools that can improve their lives.
To build a more trusted future, we also need 21st century consumer safeguards that can protect all of us from malicious, fraudulent, and unethical actors that seek to deceive, harm, or exploit our trust. As parents seek to the harness new technologies to improve the way their children learn, communicate and play, they also want to know that they can trust that their children’s privacy will be protected, and that they won’t inadvertently be tricked into downloading something inappropriate, harmful, or malicious. Already, more than 9 in 10 parents and teens support clear labels about data collection and are concerned about data used to target ads to children across apps, sites and devices. To build a more trusted future, businesses, consumers, and parents need to have faith that the technologies they use are dependable, ethically designed, and will help protect them from flawed, deceitful, fraudulent, manipulative, or unsafe applications, websites, and services.