data privacy

What’s the Future of Data Privacy?

As businesses and regulations seek to give us greater ownership of our personal data, what does this future look like?

We live in a world where your data is owned by organizations. But in the future, I believe your data will be yours, and only you will define how it’s used. Here’s why. Increasing emphasis on ethical data supply chains and data privacy is leading to changes in data management. And in time, we’re going to move from data sovereignty to self-sovereignty. This means moving away from a model in which data use within an organization is subject to rules of the country in which it’s located and moving toward a system where individuals regulate the use of their data.

The evolution of data ownership

Data ownership will move to a model where individuals will use a fully encrypted, unique digital identity that can be ported from place to place. The unique digital identity could be created using a system like blockchain, which is now most frequently associated with cryptocurrency transactions. Ten years ago, the blockchain system was a novel concept, but it’s rapidly increased in popularity and now has a multitude of uses. The next frontier for blockchain will be its use in data privacy.

By using blockchain for identity management, we each will have visibility into how our personal data is recorded and distributed. It could mean that we don’t need to repeat the entry of personal data for different purposes. For example, we may no longer need to phone to get medical records transferred between organizations. Instead, we will be able to use an encryption key to move our information across a universal system.  

This control we each will have over our data might open monetization opportunities. Suppose you wanted to make your data available for research purposes, as long as you were compensated. In that case, you could make those arrangements with research agencies through a data management platform, define the compensation and terms, and then track everything through the visible data transactions.  

The rise of data privacy regulations

We’re seeing an increase in the number of regulations supporting an individual’s rights to privacy. In Europe, where regulations are rather stringent, there’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The U.S. isn’t far behind with the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in 2018.

By 2023, 65% of the world’s population will have modern privacy regulations protecting personal data, according to Gartner. The same research revealed that only 10% of the world’s population had the same protection in 2010. With these regulations in place, individuals can choose to opt-in or out, and decide how their information is used.

Data transaction transparency

More and more forward-thinking organizations are choosing to support an individual’s right to privacy through the adoption of ethical data standards. As regulations increase, I think we’ll see an increased focus on transparency as it relates to data capture and usage. Social media organizations like Facebook are now requesting permission to use an individual’s data. It will be interesting to see how Facebook’s virtual world, the metaverse, will establish relationships between brands and users. With users leaving a digital footprint in the metaverse and brands wanting to use that data, there will be a need for a new compensation model when individuals own their data.

Data security

Despite the added control many of us have over our personal data, only 14% of us are choosing to encrypt our online information, according to McKinsey. This is interesting as we know that in today’s world, data is floating around everywhere, including in more nefarious locations like the dark web. One possible remedy will be the adoption of security solutions built on blockchain.

In this distributed world, where data flows between organizations, tools and technologies, there is a growing demand to understand how data is being used. I’m developing a system where every transaction can be secured and authorized — a model that will likely increase in popularity as it provides transparency. It’s these models that will help change the data privacy landscape to one where data will become a digital currency from which individuals can benefit.


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About the Authors

Juan Riojas

Chief Information Officer

Juan Riojas

As Chief Information Officer at Rackspace Technology, Juan Riojas is responsible for enterprise-wide data strategy, management, and analytics to meet the need of the business to answer critical questions through time to insight. He has more than 20 years of industry experience successfully migrating data ecosystem across all public clouds, leading to significant business transformation outcomes. Prior to Rackspace, Juan worked for Informatica building their inaugural Data Office and has held various executive leadership roles at Gogo, Dell, Accenture, and Expeditors. A native of Texas, Juan attended Texas A&M International University, where he studied business administration and holds a post graduate degree from Said Business School, Oxford University

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