The Choice-Sized Gap

As Privacy Professionals, when we read about petabyte ingesting Big Data tools and some of the thorny applications … the analysis begins. We identify potential issues, weigh risks, and ruminate over solutions. But upon surveying the technological landscape, it’s not all risk and woe. In fact, some emerging technological trends are rooted in themes we’re quite familiar with. Among them—Choice: “the ability to specify whether personal information will be collected and/or how it will be used or disclosed.”

Choice is no longer just an implement in our policy and privacy-by-design toolboxes. Several tech innovators have identified a choice-sized-gap in the market, and they’re ready to meet the demand.

As questions surrounding NSA surveillance activities continue to devour headlines, consumers are asking more questions about their privacy. Amidst the sensationalist cries that we’re witnessing the emergence of “a new military industrial open source Big Data complex,” some long-present legitimate concerns are now getting attention. For example, the growing number of personal information collection points consumers encounter in their daily lives.

Some propose more robust laws to better protect consumers. Others argue that self-regulation is the answer. Then, there are the privacy tech entrepreneurs … Their solution? … Deploy the next generation of tools that will put consumers in control of their data.

One such innovator is windy city entrepreneur Alen Malkoc and his enterprise: Optyn. Optyn uses proxy and de-identification protocols that allow consumers access to services that would otherwise require a personal email address. Then there’s Boston based Abine—an unlikely alliance of data, finance, and policy wonks with an impressive line of tools including DoNotTrackMe, DeleteMe, and MaskMe. They’ve been on something of a tear as of late, featured across media outlets like Yahoo, Mashable, and Today.com.

As more choice platforms emerge and big data fueled challenges evolve, solutions will arise from the public and private sectors alike. I find Intel Global Privacy Officer David Hoffman’s argument particularly convincing that “[i]mproved laws can … provide a backstop of protection, while innovators work to provide mechanisms for individuals to take more control of their data.”

The technological trends of big data and choice are in play. The unmistakably American sensibilities that abhor State intrusions have awakened larger privacy concerns. The question is: Are consumers ready to take control of their data … or are they “out to lunch” … checking into their favorite spots on Foursquare?

(This content has also appeared at We The Data.)

photo credit: Lori Greig via photopin cc

Written By

M. Capkovic, CIPP/US


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

NEW! FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Schooled in Privacy

Looking to get some higher-ed in privacy? Check out these schools that include data privacy courses in their curricula.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

The Industry of Privacy

Take stock, compare your practices to those of other organizations, and get budget with these studies on the industry of privacy.

More Resources »

P.S.R.—One Powerhouse Program

The program is too good to miss. The speakers are world-renowned. P.S.R. brings you the best of the best in privacy and security. Don't wait: Register now!

Speak at the Intensive!

The call for proposals for our London event, the Data Protection Intensive, is now open! Submit your session idea today.

Time to Get to Work at the Congress

Thought leadership, a thriving community and unrivaled education...the Congress prepares you for the challenges ahead. Register today.

GDPR Comprehensive London: Last Chance!

The IAPP GDPR Comprehensive heads to London this fall. This is your last chance at this popular program this year!

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»