Security and Privacy in 2020

Security and Privacy rang a loud bell in 2019. Trust in companies such as Facebook fell to an all-time low as stories of privacy abuse ran amock. In this article, I am going to break out the impact of security and privacy in 2020.

How Companies Are Tracking You

Even as short as five years ago, our digital personalities were mainly available through the use of computers. Fast forward to 2020, and our digital ecosystem is everywhere, tracking everything you do. Below are just some of the ways your data is being monitored:

  • Phones: Close to 50% of all apps on iPhones and Android phones have tracking enabled. Google and Facebook know where you are at all times. No need to “check-in.”
  • Watches: Fitbit, Apple Watch, and other health devices not only track your steps but your heart rate, sleep patterns, and general fitness.
  • Smart Cars: Most new cars now ship with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or similar service. Your driving habits, shopping preferences, and recreational locations are all being tracked
  • Smart Homes: Lights, smart cookers, and audio equipment now know when you are home, what music you light, and when you want lights to turn off at bedtime.
  • TVs: flat-screen TVs are so cheap for one reason: all of your TV viewing preferences are being captured.

All of these devices come with a constant internet connection, location tracking, and intelligence that interprets your behavior. 

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The Benefits That Will Come

It is quick to jump to a negative conclusion about the current state of digital security and privacy. There are, however, substantial benefits all of these digital devices provide. After all, we buy them because they improve our lifestyle. Throughout 2020 you will see the following benefits:

  • Phones: Apple and Google are doubling down to bring hardware, software, and services to our phones that continue to improve our lives dramatically. A good example is Google Maps and Apple Maps. Not only can you get turn by turn directions, but information on fastest routes, ways to avoid traffic jams, when to slow down for speeding cameras, and when to get off to fill up with gas.
  • Health: Watches are rapidly turning into health devices on your wrist. Alerts for sudden falls, heart problems, blood pressure issues, and more are keeping people out of hospitals and living healthier lives.
  • Automation: Reduce those tedious tasks and free up time for other activities! It seems like a sales call from 1920 for a vacuum, but Rumba is selling the same story for 2020. Automation tools are becoming smarter.
  • Driving: 2020 will be the year with the first car that can take you from the front door to your location without you having to do the driving. The way we are thinking of our vehicles has been changing over the last five years, but 2020 will be seen as a pivotal year. To be clear, the ability to offer automation in the car can only come from analyzing millions of miles driven by other smart cars and assessing driving conditions and obstacles.

Each of these conveniences can only be valuable by analyzing large numbers of examples. For instance, the sudden fall detection in the Apple Watch can only be trusted because lots of people who fell were analyzed.

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Does the Darker Story Have a Twist?

The challenge with owning so much data on each person is that it opens up the doors for abuse. You already see it with advertising. Through the use of cookies, tracking, and assessing your habits, companies such as Facebook can deliver ads that are truly bespoke to you.

2020 will come with many stories of security and privacy abuse. The stories will gain media attention as they are easy to broadcast and help fuel a sense of paranoia around big tech companies.

The impact is that governments are reacting. Europes’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) is the first step of establishing regulation that private companies must comply with.

The expectation is that additional legislation will be introduced at the local level, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), as well as at the federal level. To this point, there are Democratic candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, who have digital security and privacy as central themes to their campaigns.

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What Will Happen During 2020

To summarize, 2020 will be a pivotal year. There will be more scandals, but that is no different from what we have heard time and time ago for many years. What will happen in 2020 is bright and decisive action from lawmakers and private companies to provide evidence for how your privacy will remain yours. Apple is leading the cause. Every presentation they give have content covering how they are ensuring the confidentiality of the customer. Facebook and Google are trying to follow Apple’s path, but it may be harder for those two companies as their revenue model is built on tracking user behavior. If companies do not comply with consumer demands for privacy, then governments will continue to enforce more effective tools to ensure compliance through the use of massive fines.

Finally, the most important voice for privacy is you. Be vigilant, and don’t assume a private company doesn’t want to monetize your data. They do. 

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About the Author

Matthew DavidMatthew David

Matt is a Digital Leader at Accenture. His passion is a combination of solving today's problems to run more efficiently, adjusting focus to take advantage of digital tools to improve tomorrow and move organizations to new ways of working that impact the future.

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