Why 2019 will be the year of stricter privacy regulation

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Ghostery Team December 18, 2018

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Scott Matteson of TechRepublic spoke with Ghostery’s Director of Product, Jeremy Tillman discuss privacy regulation predictions for 2019. Check out an excerpt of the conversation below. Read the full Q&A here.

Online privacy is a complicated subject. Consumers can benefit from sharing data with organizations (such as their mailing address or credit card numbers) to facilitate online access and transactions. However, keeping that user data safe and not misusing it is a major priority for businesses since their reputation and revenue depend on it.

It can take an industry insider to fully hash out what the current state of privacy regulation is today. I spoke with privacy guru Jeremy Tillman, director of product at Ghostery, a web browser security organization, to find out more.

Scott Matteson: What is the current status of privacy regulation?

Jeremy Tillman: After decades of complacency, the regulatory tide is finally turning against the unchecked personal data collection that powers the ad-revenue machines at Google, Facebook, and other big tech firms. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an unprecedented leap forward in privacy regulation, with strict rules and harsh penalties designed to limit personal data collection.

Though the US has been slower to act, there is a growing demand for an Internet Dodd-Frank, a sweeping federal legislation designed to protect the privacy of US citizens. The recently passed California Protection Act (AB 375) is one potential, though imperfect, template for a federal consumer privacy law. This new law affords California residents new privacy rights that entitle them more insight into, and more control over, the personal data companies collect on them. Though much better than the status quo, this bill was rushed through the legislative process in just over a week after a much stricter initiative was organized by real-estate mogul Alastair Mactaggart.

Google already commented that they “…look forward to improvements to address the many unintended consequences of the law,” which could easily translate to prioritizing the protection of the practices that have allowed these companies to make billions at the expense of consumer privacy. That said, regulations alone can’t and won’t solve the privacy problem. That’s why consumers need to be empowered to take matters into their own hands and implement measures to personally protect, and be smart about, their online footprint.