The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is advising organizations to adopt Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) for the secure, anonymous, and safe sharing of personal information.
What is a Privacy Enhancing Technology?
Privacy Enhancing Technologies are technologically advanced solutions designed to protect personal data, increase data security, and give individuals greater control over their information.
These technologies limit the amount of personal data used and stored, encrypt communications to keep them secure, and provide users with tools to monitor how their data is being accessed and shared.
As per The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA): “Software and hardware solutions, i.e. systems encompassing technical processes, methods or knowledge to achieve specific privacy or data protection functionality or to protect against risks of privacy of an individual or a group of natural persons.”
Why are Privacy Enhancing Technologies important?
Like all data privacy solutions, Privacy Enhancing Technologies are important due to three reasons for businesses:
1. Data privacy compliance
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are continuing to make waves in the digital age of consumer data. Both laws place strict regulations to protect consumer data privacy, and businesses must abide by them or face hefty fines. The DLA Piper GDPR Data Breach Survey 2022 recently reported that fines for data breaches have already exceeded $1.2 billion from January 2021 to January 2022, and the numbers are only expected to rise further.
“Since 28 January 2021, there have been over 130,000 personal data breaches notified to regulators – on average 356 breach notifications per day, an 8% increase on last year’s daily average of 331 notifications per day.” DLA Piper
2. Data sharing and testing
Data may need to be tested by third-party organizations due to the lack of your company’s self-sufficiency in analytics and application testing: PETs enable complete privacy protection while data sharing.
3. Protecting brand reputation
PETs help protect your brand reputation by providing a secure and private environment for customers and other stakeholders to engage with your company. With PETs, data is encrypted and access to it is restricted according to the credentials of the individual user.
What are the benefits of using Privacy Enhancing Technologies?
PETs are a powerful tool for providing organizations and individuals with data that is secure and compliant with relevant regulations.
By using PETs, businesses can ensure that the personal data of a customer remains safe and private while still enabling further analysis to take place.
The ability to share, link, and analyze personal data through PETs provides valuable insights without compromising privacy or security. This makes it possible to give access to datasets which may otherwise be too sensitive or private to share.
The use of this technology helps reduce the risk and liability associated with the processing of personal data, enabling organizations to operate more efficiently and securely.
The risks of using Privacy Enhancing Technologies?
Lack of maturity
Some Privacy Enhanced Technologies may not be sufficiently mature in terms of their scalability, availability of standards and resistance to data breaches.
Lack of expertise
Using PETs requires a high level of technical expertise in order to be properly implemented and configured. If the user does not possess the appropriate technical knowledge, then mistakes can be made which could compromise the privacy of data or hinder its utility.
Mistakes in implementation
There could be discrepancies between the theoretical implementation of a PET and its practical execution: Risks to individuals’ rights and freedoms may arise as a result.
A lack of appropriate organizational measures can lower or even completely undermine the effectiveness of a PET.
What is a Consent Management Platform and is it a more complete solution?
Consent Management Platforms (CMPs) offer a number of key features that can help organizations become compliant with data privacy regulations, strengthen customer trust, and improve their overall security practices.
With a CMP, businesses can easily manage the collection and storage of user consent preferences to ensure compliance with GDPR or other data protection laws. It also allows for scalability as organizations grow and change.
Advanced CMPs are highly configurable so organizations can tailor the platform to their individual requirements, making it easier to update when new regulations come into force.
Finally, CMPs have built-in security measures which reduce the risk of data breaches and ensure the privacy and security of customer data.
By implementing a CMP, a business can demonstrate their commitment to protecting user data – something that is increasingly important for businesses to remain competitive in today’s digital landscape.