Why privacy matters

Over the next 10 years, the intelligent use of data will become one of the biggest competitive advantages a company can have. At the same time, the loss of customer data is one of the bigger risks to a modern business. As consumers become more aware of security issues, and of the value of their data, privacy is moving away from its former locus—primarily in operations— towards the heart of a business’s relationship with its customers. Privacy is increasingly important to a company’s wider reputation.

The capability of new digital technologies has led to the collection, storage and trading of personal data on an unprecedented scale, and largely imperceptible to consumers. The potential value of these data to companies has transformed privacy into a transaction—one in which consumers are not benefitting from equally. Currently, the transfer of data between consumers and companies is a one-sided handshake in which consumers have little power and less control.

The number of agencies in the UK that are authorized to access your personal data

The number of Internet police monitoring Internet use in China

77.26 million
The amount in dollars American company Acxiom makes out of selling data every year

1,800 billion
The amount of gigabytes of data produced by humans in 2011

Percentage of people globally who agree ‘I am concerned about people or companies misusing my personal data’

Number of hours it takes to read the privacy policies on the top 75 websites on the Internet

However, this is changing. Privacy is entering a time of flux, and social norms and legal systems are trying to catch up with the changes that digital technology has brought about. In this report we examine how recent privacy controversies are beginning to alert consumers to both the dangers of data misuse and the value of their personal data.

We will explore how ideas of privacy have changed and the influence of new technologies on its evolution. We chart three phases of privacy and examine what the next era of privacy might look like in a world of increasingly smart devices and ever-more expansive forms of data collection.

Download full report below.

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