Americans have awakened to the reality that many of the apps on our devices are collecting substantial amounts of data about us every day, from the mundane to the highly sensitive. For some apps, data collection is just the first step in the process of commodifying that personal data—all out of sight from the consumer, who may believe the only thing that’s going on is that she/he is playing a cool free game on their phone or tablet.
Data privacy is a fundamental right and one principle that flows from this is that consumers should be able to easily control the flow of their data through the digital ecosystem. For that right to have meaning, consumers must be able to understand the data flows and business models of any application or service they use and be able to make informed decisions about the collection, transfer, and use of their data. This means that service providers must explain in simple terms if and how data is going to be collected and used, and users should be given simple ways to control that data flow and use.
A consumer should not have to be a Chief Information Security Officer in order to manage their privacy. Unfortunately, according to a recent consumer survey commissioned by Trusted Future and conducted by the research firm AudienceNet, few Americans feel equipped to do so. Much work needs to be done, but as we drive to this more Trusted Future, there are actions that consumers can take today to better protect their privacy, and exercise additional control over their data.
“The Federal government needs the partnership of every American and every American company in these efforts. We must lock our digital doors — by encrypting our data and using multifactor authentication, for example—and we must build technology securely by design, enabling consumers to understand the risks in the technologies they buy.”
President Joe Biden