Privacy Beyond Regulatory Compliance

Three trends apply pressure to today’s privacy programs:

  1. Increased consumer awareness
  2. Regulatory landscape becoming more complex
  3. Data & technology landscape is evolving

Increased customer awareness

As a customer, who doesn’t seem concerned about privacy today?  Maybe it’s due to the frequency of data breaches headlining the news, or perhaps it’s the fact that many customers find it creepy that a product follows them around on their social media channels after a quick look on a website.  Forrester research shows customers are choosing to avoid companies that don’t align with their values, and that includes collection and use of personal or sensitive data.  When a customer shares data with a company, it is implied that it will not be misused.  For organizations wanting to take advantage of the “Grand Pivot” of customers demanding change from brands with which they choose to do business, transparency and respecting customer choice while maintaining personalization will be their game-changer.

Regulatory landscape becoming more complex

According to Gartner, by the end of 2023, 75% of the world’s population will have its personal information covered under modern privacy regulations up from 10 % in 2020.  These regulations include comprehensive privacy laws granting data rights to consumers and employees, data breach regulations, and biometric laws to name a few.  These regulations in the US and across the globe can be similar, different, complementary, and conflicting.  Organizations are challenged to keep up with this changing regulatory landscape and to avoid falling into “react” mode.

Data & technology landscape is evolving

As a result of mobile technology such as tablets and smartphones, on average, every human created 1.7 MB of data per second in 2020.  In addition, 95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem.  Data is collected from many different sources for many different purposes:  advertising, CRM, third parties, customer data platforms, and marketing automation.  Some emerging technologies such as Big Data and Analytics, IoT, Automated Processing, and Facial Recognition create privacy and ethical concerns.  Organizations are challenged with using data from these many sources to enable business growth.


For organizations working to transform these challenges into opportunities, the following is possible:

Increased consumer awareness:Data subject awareness transforms into trust by granting individuals choice and control over their shared data
Regulatory landscape becoming more complex:Privacy becomes a proactive approach, and the program is driven by best practices and well-defined, repeatable processes
Data & technology landscape is evolving:Privacy is embedded into data operations and use by prioritizing data access controls, data retention, and data minimization

What’s trending?  The concept is that the primary goal of privacy programs is NOT to comply with privacy regulations (although it’s important).  It’s to attract privacy-active customers by building brand trust.  Brand trust is increased by integrating transparency and sound information governance practices throughout business processes.  Individuals who trust a brand are 7x more willing to pay a premium, 7 x more willing to share data, and 6x more loyal as reported in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.

Written by: Christina Medis

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