Data Ethics – The new competitive advantage

The Globalization leveraging the speed of information exchange across the world enables myriads of opportunities to any kind of business. It transforms the way we as people live our lives both in our local communities and our presence in global contexts, including professional, personal and private contexts. It is a transformative move we are part of, whether we like it or not. This is why enabling personal privacy in a transforming world is important. The myriad of opportunities to businesses and governmental authorities of leveraging new and emerging digital technologies is great and as a business you need to play along – if not – your business is soon out of the game.

However, the myriad of opportunities with great and noble purposes all have a dark flipside calling for attention by the people with bad intent, people living their digital Business life in the Dark internet, where privacy has been a cornerstone. A digital world where personal and internet identity have been clearly separated and anonymous presences rule and transparency is nonexistent. The ideal world of criminal activity with very low risk of individuals being caught in crime.

The new EU GDPR is designed to protect individual people’s privacy in the “Legal” world and to help Business at global scale to simplify exchange of personal data and to support businesses to leverage emerging technological opportunities. The strategy is to raise the bar for Businesses to handle personal data with care and demonstrate Accountability in terms of Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency. Business and organizations are required to implement documented appropriate technical and organizational measures based on data privacy impact assessment of their processing of personal information.

Well, most of the basic privacy protection requirements have been around for a long time, but the transformative change of the world, the opportunities and threats developing at exponential scale call for new business and organizational habits in terms of practicing ethical behavior when handling personal information.

Even with the positive intent of the EU GDPR to protect individual’s privacy, that also has the dark flipside. The new penalty regime – up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover – for breaches call for a great business opportunity in the world of the Dark internet. It is easy to imagine how hackers with bad intent is motivated to start doing hacking and collection of personal data with the purpose of blackmailing the data controller for amounts less than the penalty to not disclose the data to the data authority. And even in that situation the data controller is in deep troubles as they are already obligated to report the breach.

Your business’s ethics capabilities will need to evolve and be used in your marketing strategy for your business to be competitive. Your ability to demonstrate your Trust in terms of proper information and data processing becomes key to any business as the EU GDPR roll out. We will see a new wave of privacy awareness among people – end users of smartphones and digital services – at the speed of light, calling for high demands of ethical behavior by businesses.

Data ethics is key to business at the speed of trust and data ethics become the new competitive advantage and it will stay so until data ethics has become the new norm of business practice.

So lets get started training the new data ethics habits, be visionary and ambitious on data ethics on behalf of your business beyond EU GDPR compliance!

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