A summit relating to aspects on Data Privacy was held at the US Chamber of Commerce, Washington D.C. The summit was titled “#DATA DONE RIGHT”. The summit was represented by our US operations Head Ms. Soujanya Sikha. She extensively interacted with the speakers and attendees on issues relating to data privacy. As the title suggests the summit’s focus was on the pros and cons of procuring and eventually sharing the procured data. As the US chamber of commerce website says “it is the is the world’s largest business organization representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions with a voice in Washington D.C”
The summit was a combination of various key note addresses by eminent personalities from bodies like Federal trade Commission, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fireside chats by people from the Industry and Government bodies including Attorney General of Georgia and TED TALK by Chief Legal Officer of Liveramp and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The summit kick started with the emphasis on the data driven life and how data gave us a risk-free life but has become a risk in itself! Every company directly or indirectly assimilates the data and thus, when privacy of data when compromised is a liability. Vulnerability of personal data raises questions about how safe is the shared data and what measures are being taken or should be taken by the companies procuring the data for rendering their services to a customer. An Abusive Data litigation was emphasized upon.
Some activities by the consumers like giving away data for free services and opening multiple accounts for multiple services is a sure shot way for data compromise. It is estimated that a person has close to 50 accounts online of which many are unnecessary and some are necessary evils.
Some important concepts like the “Digital rights bill “advocating for the ownership of an individual for one’s own data, brushing aside the regular habit of some companies to share the data of their customers to third party and robust data sharing agreements between company and customer, and the “California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)” which became a law in June 2018 was discussed. Its three main goals being Transparency i.e. what is the information collected, Control i.e. stop selling my information and Accountability i.e. keep my information but keep it secret. Apart from these points the Board Chair, Californians for consumer policy also highlighted that the CCPA followed an Opt-out policy i.e. give the customers the right to sell their data, advertise but without reselling the info, to name a few.
There was a concern expressed that the companies which rely on collection of customer data like Facebook, Google etc. are the real Czars of the modern world. The actual problem is that privacy is a tricky concept which on one end makes our lives simple, but when breached leads to emotional, financial and physical distress.
There were some speakers who favored the concept of data collection and did emphasize that data privacy is not a problem as long as the data is handled in a responsible way and they opined that in turn data enhances the customer experience. Since US is an amalgamation of states it becomes difficult to zero down to one common regulatory point for data privacy. Data collection has helped in Health care sector through applications, Policing has become comfortable; for example: Gun Control and Drug abuse are being tackled with ease. Some Central African countries where there is no decent banking system the transactions are through mobile phones as it’s the only comfortable way.
The speakers also emphasized on the data going in the right direction and in to the right hands and how it has helped the citizens in the US. Incidents like child abduction, shootouts, terrorist attacks are being prevented or the suspects are being nabbed with greater efficiency.
The summit was an amalgamation of experiences of speakers representing the industry, Federal Government and other institutions where the emphasis was that both companies and individuals should have moral responsibility and should not collect data just because its available everywhere. If a data is requested, then the data provider must ensure that the data is being shared with entities with robust credentials and which are trained in data use. It was emphasized that the data which is collected should be kept only as long as it is needed and should be safely discarded when the purpose of collection of data is achieved.