Tech Quarterly

Essential privacy insights from Q3 21

In this Tech Quarterly

Data privacy is becoming an increasingly important consideration for both consumers and businesses, with many changes being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 minute read

December 28, 2021 6:53 pm

1. Businesses to spend $15 billion on data protection tech by 2024
Rising concerns about the privacy of personal information will result in businesses spending $15 billion on data protection and compliance technology by 2024, Gartner predicts. Organisations are feeling pressure both from customers demanding greater transparency on data use and from governments imposing new regulations. More than 80 per cent of companies will face at least one privacy-focused data protection regulation by the end of 2023, says Gartner.

2. Companies collecting more data as consumer privacy concerns grow
Over the past year, 70 per cent of businesses have increased the amount of personal data they collect from consumers, according to a KPMG survey. Thirty-three per cent of businesses also said consumers should be concerned about how companies use their personal data, while 68 per cent of consumers are concerned about the level of data that businesses collect. The survey revealed that 40 per cent of consumers don’t trust companies to use their information ethically.

3. ‘Trusted’ partners should have strong privacy credentials
Privacy is becoming a key issue for organisations in choosing which partners to do business with. According to a survey from International Data Corporation (IDC), privacy is an important consideration for evaluating the trustworthiness of potential partners, along with security, compliance, environment and sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. Building a trusted network of businesses is seen as a way to boost a company’s trust perception and brand reputation among customers.

4. Rise in online payment fraud threatens data privacy
Juniper Research predicts that, in the next four years, merchant losses due to online payment fraud will exceed $206 billion. Identity and account takeover increased during the pandemic, threatening data privacy as perpetrators focused on capturing consumers’ payment information. In 2021, remote physical goods purchases were the leading cause of online payment fraud, accounting for 47 per cent of incidents.

5. Millions refuse to allow NHS to share patient data with private companies
More than one million people in the UK have opted out of a National Health Service (NHS) data-sharing scheme, after an online campaign spread awareness of government plans to make patient data available to private companies. The scheme is now on hold as officials re-evaluate it. Since the campaign launched, NHS Digital has been promising to increase the security and privacy of patient data.

6. UK government revisiting data protection rules
The UK government has launched a public consultation to review the country’s data protection regime, with the goal of creating an environment that promotes business growth and trust around data use. The consultation will focus on business accountability for data privacy management, the use of cookies and electronic communication, and data transfer between countries.

7. Consumers won’t patronise companies that abuse data
People are becoming more concerned about the privacy of their personal information, and are prepared to adjust their purchasing habits to back up their values. According to an Ipsos study, 71 per cent of consumers said they would stop doing business with a company if it gave away sensitive information without permission. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed also said they need to learn more about ways to protect themselves.

8. Could ‘synthetic’ data ease privacy concerns for healthcare research?
A public health researcher at the University of Alberta is working to create ‘synthetic’ medical data that maintains patient confidentiality while still proving useful for conducting research, testing products and training students. The researchers used machine learning to model and create healthcare records that mimic real-world data but cannot be traced back to individual patients.

9. Stockholm called out for ‘privacy washing’ over schools app
The city of Stockholm has been accused of ‘privacy washing’ when it blocked a third-party app that aimed to replace and improve upon an expensive and underperforming IT system for schools. “By slandering the volunteers who discovered security defects in its billion-kroner app, the city was able to maintain the fiction that it had exercised good oversight in public spending,” says privacy campaigner Cory Doctorow on Twitter.

10. Creating safe, remote work environments a priority for businesses
New ways of working brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have affected companies’ technology spending priorities. Cybersecurity and hybrid working are now enterprises’ main concerns, according to recent research by Omdia. More than half (58 per cent) of workers said they either will be primarily home-based or will adopt a hybrid work style, leaving businesses scrambling to invest in technologies that support safe and productive environments for workers and their data.

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