Privacy Law 2019


By continuing to read this article, you accept our privacy policy. Assuming this were true, what are the odds that you would read the privacy policy referenced? How many times in the past year have you seen that message and how many privacy policies have you actually read?

Even when we know that our online behaviour is being tracked and that our personal data is being used for various reasons, including to market services and products, more often than not, we continue to click through and agree. We go a step further when we actively share personal details about our lives on social media. New, disruptive technologies have substantially changed the way that personal data can be used and commodified. In a time when sharing and use of personal data is so extensive, regulators, companies and individuals have all been grappling with the implications on privacy.

The "Privacy Paradox"

Most of us would say that we value our privacy, and yet, we share personal details publicly on a daily basis as part of our social lives, and regularly give corporations access to intimate details of our lives. There are number of reasons for this 'privacy paradox', i.e. the disconnect between what we say about privacy and what we do about it. Often, people aren't aware of the extent to which their personal data is being used, or for which purposes. For a fun (and possibly horrifying) trip down memory lane, try checking the "My Google Activity" page of your Google account to review every Google search you performed in, let's say, 2013, which is most likely still retained by Google. The truth is, even when people can find out how their data is used, by reading the privacy policy for example, they usually don't, as shown in a 2019 Axios-SurveyMonkey poll. Privacy policies are boring, after all. Another reason that people actively relinquish their privacy is that sometimes there is no other option. If you are at an airport where CCTV cameras with facial recognition technology are used, there is no possibility to opt-out and still take the flight. Most often, even when people are fully informed and do have other options, they continue to share their personal data. The main reason for this is simply because sharing data can be incredibly useful.

Sharing location data with an app can give you exact directions, using a fingerprint or facial recognition technology to (un)lock your mobile phone can help keep it secure, applying machine learning technology to health issues can...

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