Over the last three decades, personal data have come to play an increasingly important role in our economies, societies and everyday lives. The volume of personal data collected, used and stored is vast and continues to grow, notably in the age of “Big Data”. The potential uses of personal data have increased tremendously as a result of the wide range of analytics that can provide comprehensive insights into individuals’ movements, interests, and activities.
At the same time, the abundance and persistence of personal data have elevated the risks to individuals’ privacy. Personal data is increasingly used in ways not anticipated at the time of collection. Almost every human activity leaves behind some form of digital data trail, rendering it increasingly easy to monitor individuals’ behaviour. Personal data security breaches are common.
Trust is key. If individuals and organisations are to take advantage of the benefits arising from technological developments, they must have confidence in their reliability and safety. In the global Internet economy, where huge volumes of data are crossing borders all the time, trust relationships between governments, businesses and individuals can become very complex.
Managing privacy and security risks are no longer just the concern of lawyers in legal departments and technicians within the information technology departments of organisations. They have become issues for the board room and are also high on the political agenda.
- Eric Boustouller, President Western Europe, Microsoft
- Peter Hustinx, European Data Protection Supervisor, EDPS
- Gus Hosein, Executive Director, Privacy International
- Sarah Spiekermann, Professor for Information Systems; Chair, Institute for Management Information Systems, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria