Short answer: It’s bad and getting worse.
Long answer: Research continues to confirm we’re falling behind in efforts to protect the privacy of our personally identifiable information (PII) online. Data privacy is an exploding issue because the amount of digital data we’re generating is increasing exponentially, we’re moving more data and services to the cloud, and privacy regulations are still a way off being a comprehensive fix. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing more remote work, which exposes companies to greater risks, and cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated. The data economy is flourishing, on and off the dark web.
Data privacy is a global issue. Gartner predicts the worldwide information security market will reach $170.4 billion in 2022 as companies globally respond to increasing threats. Some countries are more affected than others though, and the United States is among the worst hit. Internet-connected computers are attacked every 39 seconds in the US and 45 per cent of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years. In 2019, the US had the highest average cost per data breach in the world, at $8.64 million, and healthcare data breaches alone affected 40 million people—a number that’s growing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The US still does not have a national consumer privacy law, despite ongoing efforts to enact one, particularly in light of trailblazing regulatory advances in California.
The picture is similar in the United Kingdom where the cost per data breach is slightly lower than the global average but 88 per cent of companies have been caught up in a breach, mostly phishing attacks. High levels of data breach are also reported in nearby Germany (92 per cent), France (94 per cent), and Italy (90 per cent). Small UK businesses suffer an attempted hacking attack every 19 seconds, and nearly 40 percent of UK companies reported a data breach in the 12 months to May 2020.
In Australia, seven in 10 respondents to the Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2020, by the Office of the Australian Information Commission (OAIC), nominated privacy as a major concern for them, while 87 per cent wanted more control and choice over the collection and use of their personal information. These consumer sentiments are reflected in those of users worldwide, which we recently reported were that:
- High profile, significant, and regular data breaches have spooked consumers.
- Consumers generally get that they have to trade certain personal information for services, but are now warier of sharing their personal data.
- Consumers want to control their own data and will act to do so if they can.
- Levels of consumer trust for brands is generally low.
- Consumers will abandon brands or delay purchases where they perceive a risk to their personal data.
- The regulatory screws are tightening to protect consumers.
Privacy laws are trying to stem the data privacy crisis and put the brakes on surveillance capitalism, but there’s still a way to go. California has the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and its successor, the California Privacy Rights Act 2020, which reins in the powers of Big Tech, preventing them from sharing consumers’ personal information and closing a loophole that meant companies could keep targeting ads with user data even when those users opted out.
Beyond the US, there is also solid progress being made in consumer privacy legislation, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Brazil’s new General Data Protection Law, for example. And we hope, in the coming decade, we will see a simplification of the current patchwork of privacy regulations in the US.
What you can do right now to protect your privacy
There’s no such thing as perfect privacy, but that doesn’t mean you give up. You have to do the best you can with the knowledge and tools at your disposal and keep taking steps to protect your personal data. One privacy tool that’s right at your fingertips is MySudo, the world’s only all-in-one privacy solution.
MySudo is built on the concept of compartmentalization, widely regarded as the most powerful data privacy strategy around today. Compartmentalization means ‘siloing’ your personal information and activity into different compartments or profiles (we call them Sudos and you get up to nine in the app) to limit the damage in the event of an attack. If one Sudo profile is breached, the others aren’t affected. The military call it ‘containing the blast radius’.
This blog has masses of information on the features and benefits of MySudo. But to get started, you might want to watch our 90-second explainer video or see how a MySudo user applies the app to their busy life.
MySudo is available for iOS and Android.