AmberMac Blog

Privacy Backlash (AmberMac 2019 Tech Trends 4/5)

Welcome to 2019 (and thank you for all your support in 2018). To kick off a new year, I’m sharing a mini-series of posts covering my top 5 tech trends – these trends will affect the way we work, live, and play.

Consumers are honing in on how companies are managing personal data in smart cities, electronic medical records, social networks, and more. As Adweek reported in December, consumers yearn for privacy, and marketers will need to respect that in 2019. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Europe’s GDPR push, the author is calling this trend “social skepticism.” In March, the BBC reported that Facebook value dropped by $37B amid privacy backlash. In Toronto, Sidewalk Labs continues to face criticism for how it plans to collect data in its smart neighborhood on the city’s waterfront.

On the topic of privacy, we do have to consider the benefits of sharing data. This is something many experts don’t honestly address. If we’re looking at examples of how new technologies such as artificial intelligence can improve healthcare, they can only be effective with large and healthy data sets. In other words, the privacy backlash we’re seeing today is warranted, but we must keep in mind that there are many examples of how access to data can improve life-saving research. Perhaps that’s why we should consider the difference between privacy (applies to the person) and confidentiality (applies to the data). Unless tech companies, government organizations, and other groups can very quickly demonstrate that they can effectively respect and protect data, we’re going to see a more significant privacy backlash in 2019 that could limit progress.