Protecting your personal data online is now more important than ever.
Courtesy of BigStock.com — Copyright: Photonphoto
In the age of data sharing, it is more important than ever to understand how your personal information can be used against you.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a huge step in protecting citizens from having their data collected without consent, but there are still many questions about how this will affect businesses and consumers.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to keeping your data private; we’ll explore some of the different options available so that you can make an educated decision on what strategy best suits your needs.
What is Identity Resolution and Why Should You Care?
Data is a valuable resource for businesses, marketing firms, and law enforcement agencies. This data can lead to profitable business deals or help solve crimes; but when it comes from individuals who did not consent to provide their information in the first place, there are ethical questions that need answering.Courtesy of BigStock.com — Copyright: Photonphoto
A common way of resolving personal identity with public data like social security numbers is through services dedicated to connecting missing pieces of people’s identities–a process known as “identity resolution.”
These types of companies have been criticized by privacy advocates because they often collect sensitive personal information without proper authorization and use this data to make money off unsuspecting victims. Identity Resolution Services were even used by Cambridge Analytica in order to manipulate voters during the 2016 presidential election.
The EU GDPR is a data privacy law that went into effect in May of 2018. It has created new restrictions for how companies can collect, store and use the information collected from individuals. The main goal of this legislation was to protect people’s personal data by mandating transparency over what types of information are being stored about them as well as who they may be shared with.
This law also requires specific consent from users before their personal details are used or shared outside the company–unless there is an emergency situation where someone’s life could be at risk if they were not able to get access to certain medical records, etc.
There have been many discussions around whether or not these regulations will affect the way businesses operate because so much digital data is collected and stored in the digital age. This includes data that companies collect through social media, smartphones, wearables, or any other digital device people use to interact with the world around them.
The GDPR legislation does not specify what types of information must be protected by law nor how it should be conveyed to consumers–instead, it requires organizations to build customer trust while keeping their personal data safe.
The Customer Journey in the Age of Privacy
The customer journey in the age of privacy is a complex one. The goal for businesses and individuals should be to work together so that trust can grow and become stronger with every interaction–from marketing interactions through data collection down to personal relationships.
What has not changed about people’s needs when it comes to protecting their private information are: knowing what will happen if they provide certain types of information; getting feedback in real-time on how this data may affect them or their decision-making process; transparency/consistency from all parties involved (businesses, social media companies); and ability to take control over what happens with their data at any time.
There have been many discussions around whether or not these regulations will affect businesses in a negative way, but I believe that they will have the opposite effect. By providing an efficient data protection framework for businesses to abide by and be transparent about their data practices, the GDPR ensures trust between consumers and brands, essential when considering any type of business transaction or personal relationship.
How to Protect Your Personal Data Online
Protecting your personal data online is now more important than ever. With the GDPR, data protection is now a legal right for all European Union citizens–and you can take steps to protect your personal data and prevent it from being compromised online.
- Be cautious about what information you input into websites or social media platforms: Social engineering scams are on the rise that trick people into divulging personally identifying details by posing as reputable companies and organizations (e.g., email phishing). Don’t trust these messages implicitly just because they come with an unfamiliar logo; always verify who seems trustworthy before submitting any sensitive information about yourself via phone call or email correspondence.
- When signing up to new services/accounts, don’t share too much information beyond your name, address, and email address.
- When signing up for a new service or account, think about the security features you want to set and what else makes sense for your situation (e.g., PINs versus passwords). If you need help with this process, contact customer support as soon as possible so they can walk you through it.
The Top Three Things You Can do to Protect Yourself from Hackers
- Always verify a website’s URL in your browser.
- Be cautious of any emails asking for personal information or directing you to suspicious websites–don’t click on links and always check email headers from unrecognized senders.
- Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If an offer sounds too good to pass up, take time with the decision first before clicking “yes”. It may save you hours (or days) of frustration later down the road when things go wrong.
Why Should You Care as a Consumer or Brand Owner?
Data privacy is an issue for both consumers and brands alike, and each has different considerations when it comes to data collection. As a brand owner, you want the best customer experience possible–both in terms of products/services as well as security.
- For consumer identity resolution purposes, combined data sources can be used to validate identities if information from one source matches up with another (for example: using Facebook profile information for age verification). Consumers also need protection because their personal digital footprint often impacts their careers or loans later on down the road. This means that they should have a say in what companies store about them!
- The EU’s GDPR law was created recently out of this concern–companies are allowed only 24 hours to get consent from consumers before storing data for marketing purposes. The regulations also force companies that collect information on children under the age of 16 years old, or personal data such as health records or genetic and biometric data, to guarantee security measures in order to protect these sensitive details.
- As a brand owner, you need customers’ permission and support in order to keep your company thriving through privacy legislation changes while providing them with excellent customer service.
About the author: Rakesh Soni is CEO of LoginRadius, a leading provider of cloud-based digital identity solutions. The LoginRadius Identity Platform serves over 3,000 businesses and secures one billion digital identities worldwide. LoginRadius has been named as an industry leader in the customer identity and access management space by Gartner, Forrester, KuppingerCole, and Computer Weekly.
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