Data Privacy Day was recently celebrated worldwide as a way to promote personal safety online. But with the upcoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the subject of data has become the dominant topic on many a digital company’s lips. Now it seems, information shared online could eventually be as regulated as a natural resource.
Last year, The Economist described data as “the oil of the digital era,” prompting a rash of responses against the statement, with many claiming that oil is markedly different. “Data today has something important in common with oil a century ago. But the tech titans are more media moguls than oil barons,” writes BBC’s Amol Rajan.
However, data is becoming a highly valuable commodity to the digital realm, and consumer data is worth more than gold in some instances. But unlike oil, data is a far more prolific asset and therefore, vulnerable — leading many companies to begin turning their focus to data protection. Especially with heavier regulations right around the corner.
“Businesses need to shift their perception of data, from a money-making material waiting to be plundered to an asset that needs to be safeguarded and treated with respect,” said The Guardian.
Getting around breaches is the first hurdle for many brands, some large corporations have been hurt by major ruptures in their data pools. Studies show that “hacked companies underperform by 42 percent after three years.” So what preventative measures are coming out of the new age of data as an (arguably) precious resource?
2FA adds an extra blanket of protection over personal data and is trusted by most consumer tech brands worldwide, Apple’s iOS system has within it a 2FA system as well as social media centers such as Whatsapp and Instagram.
See more about Freespee’s 2-factor authentication here.
An ancient form of security but even more impressive when used to cloak information online. Still, hackers are quick to break the code despite advances in random number generation and other forms of cryptography. Enter Honey Encryption, developed by Ari Juels, former chief scientist at computer security company RSA, and Thomas Ristenpart from the University of Wisconsin. The technology tricks intruders by flooding them with the wrong data any time an incorrect password or encryption key is guessed. Sneaky yet effective.
We can blame Bitcoin for this development. It works by “substituting a randomly generated value—the token—for sensitive data such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and social security numbers,” says Forbes. The mapping of the token is then stored in a reliable database. MasterCard is also a fan.
“Since the invention of coded messages used during the Revolutionary War, technology advances have always required adaptations in the law to preserve both privacy and social order,” writes Larry Downes for The Washington Post.
We’ve come a long way since morse code and smoke signals to protect valuable information. Our digital growth seems to be infinite, and its preservation is becoming more complicated. Though it may not be an organic asset, it still represents who we are, and that is definitely worth protecting.