Data Privacy Trends and Challenges in Today’s Connected World

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In today’s connected world, technologies have become part and parcel of everyone’s life. The cyber-world of today has generated various privacy and security concerns due to increasing cyberattacks. Cyberattacks come with a huge cost for organizations, which have been increased during and after the pandemic. The four ethical concerns in the current digital era are privacy, digital crime, job replacement, and unethical use of data.

Why data privacy is a key concern? Personal data breach can damage the privacy, reputation and freedom of the individual, which includes identity thefts and other fraudulent activities. Data privacy is not only a major concern for individuals but also for organizations.

What is Data Privacy?

Data privacy also referred to as information privacy, is all about data protection that deals with the handling of confidential and sensitive data such as personal data, intellectual property data, and financial data in compliance with data privacy best practices, laws, and regulations.

Data privacy concerns deal with how data can be shared with third parties, how data can be collected or stored legally, and the regulatory restrictions such as GDPR or CCPA.

Data privacy should be the top priority of organizations and businesses handling personal data or personally identifiable data of consumers, employees, etc. Failure in following the data privacy laws and regulations can incur huge losses such as financial penalties, brand damage, and legal action.

Data Security vs Data Privacy

Data security and data privacy are the terms that have been used interchangeably. However, these terms cannot be used interchangeably as these are two different concepts.

As discussed earlier, data privacy ensures that information or data cannot be accessed by a third party as the individuals or organizations retain control over the PII (Personally Identifiable Information). It is all about proper handling, processing, usage, and storage of personal information.

Data security is referred to as the defense of information or data against malicious, internal, external, and accidental threats. Data security guarantees that accurate and reliable data will be made available to authorized users.

The Value of Personal Data (PII)

Personal data or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as the information used to trace the identity of a specific individual. Some of the most commonly known PII are social security numbers, phone numbers, driving licenses, financial information, and email addresses. This information is considered sensitive.

However, the scope of PII has expanded considerably with technological advancements, which include login IDs, digital images, social media posts, or IP addresses. PII is also classified into geolocation, behavioral, and biometric data.

Cybercriminals use PII for identity theft and the information is used to perform fraudulent activities. Cybercriminals will use personal data to launch malicious cyberattacks that cause a direct impact on the victims such as performing fraudulent financial transactions, counterfeiting credit cards, applying for loans using impersonation techniques from victims’ IDs, etc. The PII is also sold to companies or marketing agencies that specialize in launching spam marketing campaigns without the consent of the victims.

What are Data Brokers?

Data brokers are those who either collect information from individuals or purchase it from companies or businesses. They also browse through the internet to get information about the users-either legally or illegally. Other offline resources are used to collect the data. Data brokerage is a profitable industry that generates yearly revenue of $200 billion.

Data brokers make revenue by selling the information gathered, refined, and classified into different categories. The more the data is refined or sensitive, the more the price for the information. Data brokers know how to create categories that sell by combining various data such as contact details, demographic details, income level, marital status, and consumer preference. These categorized data will be sold to marketers, advertisers, political campaigns, financial institutions, or other third parties who need people’s data.

The data or information collected from data brokers are used to reach the target group by companies or businesses.

Data Privacy Laws & Regulations- Global Landscape

The global landscape of privacy laws and regulations has evolved drastically in recent years and new policies have been passed as laws. The privacy laws and regulations vary considerably from country to country or region to region. The formulation of GDPR by the European Union made data security the primary priority for organizations and individuals.

GDPR carries heavy fines for non-compliance with privacy regulations, even the accidental breaches invite bigger legal risks than earlier. Adequacy decision is a term used by the European Commission, in which a third country or territory has high levels of data protection equivalent to that of the EU. It permits cross-border data transfer without the requirement of additional authorization.

The United States follows a bunch of regulations in each of its states. The popular one among them is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which is nicknamed as ‘mini GDPR. Brazil has LGPD and other countries such as, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and Australia have privacy regulations in place.  Now, 128 countries out of the 194 countries around the world have implemented data protection laws and the number is still increasing.

As for India, the Data Protection Bill 2021 has been tabled in the Parliament during December 2021.

Schrems II has created an impact in the global privacy approaches and regulations, which is a ruling issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union to address the information flow from the European Union to the United States.  The ruling is restructuring the operations of global organizations in different countries and the approach to protecting the personal information.

India’s Personal Data Protection Bill (PDP Bill) is introduced to implement data protection laws in India, which follows the model of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The bill has necessary regulations for individual data protection. The PDP bill has three categories for the protection of data such as personal data, critical personal data, and sensitive personal data with different obligations and requirements.

Data Privacy Trends and Challenges

Rise of Privacy Regulations

GDPR led the way by setting an example to create a privacy regulation framework on how to process personal data. Enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is inspired by GDPR to protect personal data and Brazil implemented LGPD to protect the personal data of around 140 million of its internet users. According to Gartner, by 2023, the personal information of around 65% of the world population will be covered under modern privacy regulations.

New Privacy Standards and Data Graveyard

Data graveyards can be described as unused data storehouses as companies collect an immense amount of data that remains unused. This unused data is creating problems and becoming a financial burden to the companies. New privacy standards propose data removal and data retention policies by focusing on creating data governance and data quality.

Create New Roles and Responsibilities

In the coming times, organizations will understand the need of creating new roles and responsibilities to manage, apply, and implement data protection policies and regulations. Cybersecurity and data privacy will gradually share common responsibilities and interests.

Transparency, Awareness, and Risk Management

Transparency and trust are important for organizations while utilizing the information with a stringent privacy policy in place. The users should be aware of their rights and the organizations should create transparent policies on why and how the data is collected from the users. Organizations have to focus on screening third parties they are associated with to protect the business from impending risks through agreements and evaluations.

Employee Training and Talent Crisis

The shortage of talented professionals in data privacy and cybersecurity is going to impact the industry in the coming years. Data privacy is the career for future because organizations are emphasizing data security, data breaches, and cyberattacks and are in search of innovative ways to resolve challenges by recruiting talents.


Data privacy creates an impact on every aspect of enterprises, from the creation to the implementation of the corporate strategy to align with security processes. New policies and stringent regulations will be created in the coming years to safeguard data or information. Organizations have to implement best security practices to keep sensitive and private data safe.


Deepa K

Content Strategist

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