Welcome to Data Protection Day 2021

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Also known as “Data Privacy Day” outside of Europe.

2021 follows hot on the heels of one of the most disruptive years we have known in our lifetimes and, if the analysts are to be taken seriously, looks set to be a game-changer for the world of Privacy Tech. Possibly, a theme enhanced by the need to share data on mass due to the pandemic. 

The rise of Privacy Tech has been creeping up over the last few years but to date has not hit the mainstream. Organisations have not had an incentive to counter their mass data accumulation and often can’t see beyond more is; well, more and therefore better? 

This year is the 40th anniversary of the introduction of Convention 108, the first legally binding instrument relating to data protection. With the treaty being in place for so long, we would like to believe that the concept of data protection is familiar to society at large. Unfortunately, the rate at which technology has evolved means that it is not always apparent what happens when you share your data and has left most people in the dark. 2021 marks the 15th annual Data Protection Day and aims to educate society on data protection issues and rights. 

MyLife Digital believes that many positives can come from collecting, sharing, and using people’s data ethically. Products and services should be designed to deliver benefits to individuals, society, and organisations equally.  

What is going to make the difference in 2021?

There are several forces coming together that will make significant changes to how society views and treats data protection.

  • Technology is still evolving – but demonstrating a change to reflect the human-centric needs of society. Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project is one example of the change needed to give people control of their data
  • Regulation is evolving. GDPR introduced a step change and is seen as the benchmark for global data protection standards. The number of countries that have introduced or updated their data protection regulations in the last few years has increased significantly.
  • Regulators are learning how to act. Adtech is an elusive dark art, individuals’ data is regularly shared and used to create profiles to improve advert displays without individuals realising. 
  • Activists are making noise. More advocates are challenging dark patterns relating to data protection. Individuals and groups have raised many challenges with regulators to ensure data protection is done right. Raising awareness and ensuring laws change to meet the needs of the people they protect.
  • People are becoming aware of data protection rules. Individuals are noticing that advert following them around the internet and starting to challenge this stalking behaviour.

What do the analysts say?

Gartner suggest a proactive approach to privacy and data protection helps organisations increase trust.

Privacy is becoming a reason for consumers to purchase a product, in the same way that “organic,” “free trade” and “cruelty-free” labels have driven products sales in the past decade.

“Privacy-first products are likely to follow this trend,” says Bart Willemsen, Vice President Analyst, Gartner. “To increase customer trust, executive leaders need to build a holistic and adaptive privacy program across the organisation, and be proactive instead of responding to each jurisdictional challenge.”

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Forrester too, predict that Privacy will become an imperative in 2021.

2021 will be a year of transition. As communities, consumers, and businesses leave the pandemic behind, they will embrace a new normal.

Three privacy-related trends will underpin this transition: 1) an ever-increasing appetite to collect, process, and share sensitive personal data from consumers and employees; 2) despite the recessionary economy, values-based consumers will increasingly prefer to engage with and entrust their data to ethical businesses; and 3) regulatory and compliance complexity in relation to data privacy will increase further.


CMOs should be considering Consent and Preference Management

With both Forrester and Gartner predicting 2021 will be the year Privacy becomes an imperative, this following article in ITPro addresses why CMOs should be considering Consent & Preference Management as a core component of the marketing stack.

“They must look for solutions that help them design and implement privacy as continuous engagement. This includes designing and orchestrating privacy touch-points and building portals that allow consumers to adjust their data sharing preferences,” says Iannopollo, a senior analyst at Forrester.



If you’d like to find out how MyLife Digital’s next-generation universal Consent & Preference Management can help:

  • Generate more value from your customer data
  • Build trust by infusing transparency and empowerment in customer journeys
  • Comply with global data protection regulations

Please feel free to contact us today.

Karen Watson

Karen Watson

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