Digital freedom and your data

On Data Privacy Day, we talk to Oliver Schonschek, News Analyst on privacy and security about the value of personal data and why we should all become privacy experts.

Up until now, Data Privacy Day may have remained a bit obscure for many people. But not any longer.

As consumers are becoming more aware of data collection and user profiling, a resolution to stay safe online could be the most important decision we make in the new decade.

Take a look at this conversation with Oliver Schonschek, News Analyst (Privacy and Security), and Insider Research.

The topic of online privacy can be daunting for the average person. How would you explain why this is something people should care about?

The aim of privacy is to protect the freedom of people. So caring about privacy is not only caring about the data itself, but about the person this data represents. 

Do you think that the privacy movement is galvanizing? Are people more concerned about their privacy now than a decade ago?

Privacy becomes more and more important as the usage of data and the amount of stored and used data grows. People know immediately if something goes wrong with their data. Also, depending on history and culture, some people care about privacy more, and some care about privacy less. The GDPR has been a major push for the privacy movement, not only in the EU, and this will go on in the next years.

What’s one thing users should never do, or a pitfall they should avoid in 2020?

Users should never believe that privacy is built in when they start using a new product or service. Every user still has to check the privacy settings, even now, with GDPR in place and its Privacy by Default and Privacy by Design. These privacy principles are still not fulfilled in many cases.

The EU got GDPR, California also recently introduced CCPA. What kind of regulation do you see the world moving towards in the future?

GDPR has been a milestone for privacy, influencing other regulations in different counties. The main focus of GDPR is to have an equal level of privacy throughout the EU. It would be wonderful to have this level also outside the EU. However, we will have different privacy regulations in the world in the future, as privacy regulations are also a mirror of the digital culture in a given country.

Corporate companies have an important role to play when it comes to data privacy. Do you think transparency will become a necessity?

Transparency is very important not only for privacy but also for the economic success of a company. AI is a good example where the lack of transparency will reduce the success of the company. Nobody needs to tell the secret sauce in their product, but when it has to do with the personal data of the users, companies have to be open and frank.

Do you think we need more privacy experts in today’s world?

There’s definitely a huge need for privacy experts because technical developments and the changes in regulation are complex. Every user must become a bit of a privacy expert, but we need more professional privacy experts indeed.

What suggestions would you like to give to our users when it comes to protecting their privacy?

When you are asked to give your data, you should always think of the value of this data, as it is part of your digital freedom, you are the owner of your data. So you should always ask yourself if the institution really needs this kind of data from you, for what purpose, and what will happen to the data. When data is the new oil, you should not spill your data, but use it very wisely.

Oliver Schonschek is News Analyst (Privacy and Security), and Insider Research.

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Read more on the topic of privacy:

Privacy is not just a personal matter

Vivaldi’s powerful privacy settings

How product usage tracking can compromise privacy

Privacy and the rise of the alternative search engine

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