The future of privacy and cybersecurity has been at the forefront of concerns around the digitization of data for over a decade. The future of privacy and cybersecurity has been at the forefront of concerns around the digitization of data for over a decade. The digital age has brought about a hyper-connected world. Vast amounts of data are added to the internet and shared via connected devices every day. Many digital technologies are being used to create, process, store and share information and data related to people, organizations, and governments.
It’s estimated that by 2030, the average person will have about 20 connected devices. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices include laptops, smartphones, smart home sensors, surveillance drones and wearable heart monitors. As the number of IoT devices rises (estimated to reach 200 billion by 2030), this presents rapidly expanding points of vulnerability for cyberattacks and privacy breaches.
Future challenges in managing privacy
Controlling what data is used for, who can access it, and how it is maintained is becoming increasingly challenging. This poses risks for privacy rights. In addition, legal frameworks governing privacy and data protection will continue to change around the world. In the future, privacy may be viewed as a right in some places, while it may be seen as a commodity or even a luxury in others.
There are also many instances of corporations breaching consumer privacy, while others fail to prevent and protect against rapidly evolving threats and cyberattacks. These factors will fuel rising consumer distrust in corporations and institutions to protect their privacy and personal data.
People are expected to react to this digital trust crisis by safely managing data away from enterprises and toward peers, influencers, and fellow users. This paradigm shift toward a so-called “distributed trust” model in cybersecurity and data privacy protection will strengthen the need for digital privacy.
Digital technology solutions for privacy risks
Increasing privacy risks present many growth opportunities for businesses that offer cybersecurity, data protection and privacy-enhancing solutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies, in particular, will provide a new frontier to mitigate privacy risks if strategic steps are taken by 2030 to identify, respond to and learn from critical threats.
Future business opportunities in providing privacy risk mitigation solutions
Along with new regulatory frameworks, emerging digital technologies will be used to mitigate privacy risks. These privacy-enabling technologies offer future business opportunities for solution providers and include:
- Anonymization of data and data de-identification-as-a-service – As more data becomes accessible online, people will look to hide, erase and de-link their identities from that data to protect their privacy. Data de-identification-as-a-service may offer varying levels of data anonymity services.
- Continuous authentication to enhance data security – The current use of usernames, passwords and PINs for digital security will be replaced with continuous authentication, which will enhance data security and privacy protection.
- Use of AI to detect and stop misinformation and disinformation – AI algorithms will be used to detect and quell the spread of disinformation and misinformation. For example, AI could be leveraged on social media platforms and news sites to detect fake news and unreliable data and then warn users to stop it from being spread.
- Digital provenance solutions – To verify data authenticity, companies can use blockchain technology when they create new content as a form of digital provenance or proof of where the content originated.
- Authenticated alibi services – In the future, people will use wearable and storage devices to authenticate their whereabouts. This will help people “lifelog” their personal and public moments and can also help provide authenticated alibis where needed; for example, to debunk fake content or wrongful accusations. This may be a particularly useful solution for politicians and celebrities, whose reputations are often at risk by nature of their public profiles.
Final thoughts on the future of privacy in the digital era
Businesses in the future will need to respond strategically to privacy and cybersecurity risks in this increasingly connected digital era. They will also need to adopt a “privacy by design” approach to new products and services. This will reorient and elevate cybersecurity to an organization-wide approach rather than an IT department function.
For solution providers, the growing demand for privacy-enhancing technologies presents an exciting new business opportunity. However, enterprises will need to gain and maintain digital trust, which may require increased transparency, as well as compliance with and adaptability to evolving regulatory frameworks.
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