Yes or No to Big Tech regulating Privacy?

When the Cambridge Analytica story broke in 2018, it resonated with Policy makers. CEOs were called on the carpet to testify. Politicians were made uncomfortable as they were just beginning to understand the power of technology giants

It was not immediately visible but we see the shift now, in 2021. The public started to question more and more the content they were reading, being aware of how algorithms can put a “spin” on reality. When WhatsApp announced a change in their Privacy Policy and it seemed like massive data sharing will occur, the public reacted by moving away from the platform. A lot of Facebook users stopped putting their private life online.

Despite the EU move toward more restrictive privacy legislation, tech platforms continued with the evolution of algorithms designed to keep eyes on their sites for as long as possible.

Parliamentarian Viviane Reding, former vice president of the European Commission, said the GDPR’s enforcement has been uneven. Reding, who lead the GDPR effort through the Commission, said enforcement “against systematic stealing of data for commercial or political purposes is somehow not so strong.” 

What is at stake? Policy, free speech and privacy. Can the Big Tech be both arbiters and innovators?

While the Big Tech platforms have quietly spent a fortune on lobbying efforts to prevent the repeal of US Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a quick scan of the public facing statements from the major platforms tell a different story:

Facebook: Supports a common global framework, including new privacy regulation in the U.S.

Microsoft: Supports a “strong federal law” that is “worthy of preemption.”

Apple: Supports comprehensive federal privacy legislation that reflects privacy as a fundamental human right.

Google: Supports comprehensive federal privacy legislation.

On the other hand, Privacy advocates are having a significant impact, aided by current events that spotlight the practices that have shaped our world for over a decade now. Competition regulators were fast on the heels of Big Tech, where Privacy Laws failed. The general public is taking notice.

According to the 2021 Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study, 79% of respondents believe privacy regulations have had a positive impact, 16% were neutral, and only 5% said that privacy laws have had a negative impact on data protection and in boosting confidence that personal data is being treated properly.

So while the tech platforms may not be the arbiters of privacy and free speech (or at least some of them), they remain the leaders in the space. They are Influencers. They will continue to move markets.

And privacy is the new market leadership trend.

For downstream businesses, that means adapting and innovating new ways to generate customer insights without compromising trust. How is your organization prepared to support strategic business growth?

MPC – Strategic Sustainable Privacy Goals Report 2021

Why not start with a comprehensive review of your privacy posture. We can help. Check out our Privacy Playbook.

Contact us: [email protected]

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