Three ways Strengthening trust in the utilization of personal data has become a priority for policy-makers and business leaders. A recent survey by telecoms operator Orange demonstrates that an overwhelming 78 percent of consumers think that it is hard to trust companies with personal data and that service providers hold in addition much information about them. An even higher number (82 percent) feel that they have no power to control how data is used. likewise, a recent study released by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Oxford Internet Institute found that over 67 percent of individuals feel that organizations, both public and private sector, ask for too much personal information.
Ultimately, the personal data economy hinges on people having sufficient trust to participate and data governance must reflect this. For the period of A.T. Kearney's year-long collaboration with the World Economic Forum as part of Rethinking Personal Data initiative, we heard business leaders say many times that "trust is the foundation of our business". The challenge for organizations lies in strengthening trust as maintaining the elasticity to use personal data in ways that form economic and social value.
Luckily, respecting privacy does not have to mean restraining opportunities for economic and innovation value. A new report from the World Economic Forum outlines the central challenges to strengthening trust and presents a set of steps that are able to be taken in both short and long term.
Offer meaningful transparency- Rather than focusing on discovery and overwhelming individuals with unnecessary and often incomprehensible details, organizations can strengthen trust by engaging with people in a meaningful way that both provides them with nearby into how personal data would be used and allows them to say preferences for that use. Doing so will need a simple language of data terms that users recognize and that can be used across industries and regions, as well as user interfaces that give a measure of individual control.
Work has by now started on providing people with enhanced control. For instance, Mozilla's new Firefox operating system incorporates a principle of slightest permissions. Under this approach, applications are granted a negligible level of permission for collecting and using personal data, unless an individual specifically grants more permission.
Without any doubt, accountability is key to trust. Current approaches based on notice-and-consent models have unfortunate consequence of shifting the majority of risks and responsibilities onto individuals. Most people are recognizable with these agreements, clicking "I agree" when installing a new app, for example: and they have become increasingly lengthy as new data uses have been developed. For example, iTunes privacy agreement is longer than Shakespeare's Macbeth.
By connecting accountability to the impact data use has on individuals, responsibilities can be more impartially distributed throughout the value chain. So as to implement this approach, a greater understanding is essential of the impact and risks, as seen through the eyes of individuals, of different data uses.
Empower individuals- The increasing volume of information generated by new technologies and often analysed at levels far removed from the original point of collection, makes it hard for individuals to understand where they fit in personal data economy. Trust cannot be strengthened when individuals are kept in dark and at a distance. New approaches can accurate this by empowering individuals and basing data governance on their interests.
The world of personal data is both constantly and complex changing. While some of the necessary technological and legal frameworks will take time to develop, organizations can act now to expand common and straightforward ways to exchange a few words with individuals, as well as reorienting risk control procedures around user needs. Personal data is an important asset that has been used to create significant social and economic value; taking reasonable steps to make strong trust can help certify that this continues.