We are living in an era where key aspects of our lives revolve around data held about us. The tracking of this data either online or offline, results in the increase of threats like pharming, phishing, and usage of data by third party users (as in Cloud computing) or data brokers. Data is also susceptible to virus or worm attack, political or social manipulation, and improper data profiling. In order to fight back against these threats, one should work with ethics on big data, personal data security, and privacy of data.
Growth and advancement in technology has captured the world like a web, where no individual is left uncaught. Collecting and analyzing credit card details and personal information like name, address etc. has led to tremendous increase in data which is stored and utilized for malicious reasons and monetary gain. Therefore, protection of data from unauthorized or unfamiliar access and avoiding data breach, forms a major concern for all businesses and services operating all over the globe. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an important change in the history of data privacy regulation, considering privacy of data to be a valuable asset to protect and not sell across different sectors. The rule doesn’t govern on data which is processed by an individual for purely personal reasons or any activities carried out at personal space, like home, without any connection to a professional or commercial activity. For example, inviting friends for party from own private address book through email.
GDPR is an European Union (EU) regulation that governs to regulate personal information of customers by strengthening their rights to control, check, monitor, and delete information which is related to them.
Thus, GDPR is needed to ensure protection and privacy of personal data over the web.
Before implementation of GDPR, data protection rules were created across Europe in 1990’s first. In October 1995, Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC was created with the goal of regulating transfer of personal data and also harmonizing data protection laws. In January 2012, an initial proposal for updation of data protection regulation was made by the European Commission. In 2016, European Parliament and Council of European Union adopted GDPR after 4 years of discussion which was started in 2014.
After following a post adoption grace period of 2 years, GDPR became fully enforceable on 25 May 2018 replacing the Data Protection Act.
GDPR applies to–
A major focus of GDPR is to have-
Immediate affect of GDPR was seen when the complaint was received within forty eight minutes of enforcement, against US tech companies and social media companies for carrying out unsaid privacy violations thus strengthening customers right to protect misuse of personal data.
Businesses continued to serve their customers, send them emails, collect and store their data on lawful basis respecting the privacy of people and those who want to have their data deleted, as level of awareness among the general public’s perspective has changed. But for some small businesses, cost or expense of making business compliant with new rules and regulations were quite unbearable which in turn led to cutting down on services which were offered to European customers as compared to the other parts of globe.
Ezoic firm conducted a research and found that Ad rates have dropped in Europe since May 25.
According to report from Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism, the average use of third party cookies per page across Europe has dropped 22 percent resulting in delivering a better user experience and faster loading of web sites. Some marketing experts whose organization is GDPR compliant surprised them with the fact that customers are more receptive towards advertisements, thus, having developed trust and loyalty with the organization.
With enforcement of GDPR, US based social network giant Facebook reported a decline of about millions of MAUs (monthly average users) and less impact on DAUs (daily average users) as well as drop in advertising revenue growth and active users within Europe. Having globally connected user base, Facebook asked users to review their privacy settings that whether advertisers can target them based on religious and political views or their sexual orientation. Google changed its privacy policies making it much user friendly and had worked with team of experts to follow GDPR policies. Apple shared details to the customers on the type of personal data it holds on them and introduced service for EU countries (later, all over globe) which allows customer to see data from sign-in history to photos, documents, contacts, etc. and control data by correcting, deleting information or deactivating their account. It is easy for Big Tech giant businesses to comply with the new rule. But small and medium sized businesses who were less prepared were impacted on the grounds of budget.
Many US sites have continued to block European visitors after GDPR came into effect. After GDPR US state California also proposed to give its consumers control over data, starting January 1,2020 Californians can also determine what data if any is collected, sold or shared with third parties.
In India, on 27 July, an Indian government committee released the Personal Data Protection Bill of 2018 based on the ruling by the Indian Supreme Court that every individual has the right to data privacy. Job opportunities in Cybersecurity have also increased in cities like Bangalore, Mumbai and National Capital Region comprising majority of IT startups and multinational companies. GDPR opened doors of opportunities for Indian companies in strengthening business with Europe.
Ethics or simple honesty differentiates the right and wrong behavior within a society. In today’s scenario, where business plays an integral part of society, organizations face difficulty to maintain profits and revenues and it is a data driven world, Data Ethics or Big Data Ethics can be defined as study and evaluation of moral problems related to collection, generation, processing, sharing and usage of data, particularly personal data. For example, in retail industry, big data technologies is used to suggest items, give attractive coupons, improve store layout based on customer movement but Tracking movements or shopping habits of customers, saving card details, sending invalid offers and other cybercrimes like bullying, hacking etc. arises questions related to privacy of an individual, degree of transparency in usage of customers data and control over voluminous data. Following principles are defined to form a big data ethics framework for both individuals and organizations-
By collecting and aggregating the required data, identifying and scrubbing personal data, complying with all laws related to personal data, having a plan stating important information and allowing users to choose the data they are willing to share(privacy settings) are few ways in which companies can collect and analyze data in ethical manner without keeping safety and privacy of users on stake.
Authorization, Authentication, Administration, Audit and Data Protection forms the pillars of security for data being controlled over web. According to GDPR organizations must ensure data accuracy and integrity by granting right to access and correction, minimize individuals’ identity exposure by using pseudonymous or anonymous data, process data only for authorized purposes and implement data security measures by adopting right to be forgotten protocols. Just like a coin has two faces, so has been the impact of GDPR-some for better, some for worse. Organizations are working to implement the changes, and few have undergone the changes and operating as per law.
It has still been few months to implementation of GDPR but, its consistent implementation will reduce vulnerability to cyber threats, develop customers loyalty towards organization on concerns of confidentiality and overall increase of security in organization’s data resulting into good business plan. Data has been one of the leading drivers of generating revenues for organization in all sectors, thus, its ethical usage- keeping in mind both the growth of data science and privacy, ownership, identity of individuals and groups is the responsibility of organization.
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