For the past year or so, I’ve noticed that people are increasingly concerned about how protected their information is – not just from hackers, but from governments and large Internet companies as well. Individual users and organizations are now saying – more than ever before – that privacy and security matters.
Of course, the desire for privacy and security is sometimes trumped by the desire for added convenience and features. However, one thing that will cause changes in how data is protected is government regulation. In some quarters, it is perceived – rightly or wrongly – that private companies cannot be trusted with the data of their users, and that the government must step in with regulations.
The European Union is planning new regulations that will control how organizations that do business in Europe will have to store, manage, and control the data of their users. A company does not have to be located in Europe to be affected, making the scope of these regulations larger than immediately apparent.
Will this be enough to make consumers trust that their data is in safe hands? Not entirely. Some users will not trust companies that protect their data if they just comply with regulations. Companies that hold the personal data of their users need to protect that above and beyond what regulations will call for, to reassure their users that they are doing all they can to protect their users.
The Internet has been an amazingly valuable tool to connect people all over the world with each other. However, recent events have unfortunately shaken the confidence we once had in our online lives. Both individuals and organizations need to take the steps to rebuild the trust and confidence to keep the Internet safe and open for everyone. We are all digital natives now; the Internet is too important in all our lives to be treated any other way.