So what can we learn from recent judgements against those who compromise privacy in pursuit of profit? Here are five key trends we’ve noted:
1) The fightback is global
The backlash against poor privacy practices isn’t constrained to one country or territory alone. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has seen its businesses fined in Asia (South Korea), Europe (Ireland and France) and the USA. Another Big Tech giant, Amazon, was hit by a record €746m fine in Luxembourg, having also been fined €35m in neighbouring France for dropping cookies without consent. Recently Clearview AI, which scraped millions of pictures of people’s faces from social media, was fined, punished or investigated in countries including the UK, Australia, Canada, Greece and Italy. Elsewhere, regulators in Germany, Austria and Spain have all issued multi-million-pound fines to privacy offenders. Worldwide organisations with poor privacy practices may well be asking where they’ll be fined next.
2) Attitudes are changing
Huge regulatory fines have either provoked, or run concurrently with, a vast shift in the way Big Tech approaches privacy. As consumers become more aware that in many cases ‘they are the product’, major technology companies are performing an about turn; instead of compromising privacy in pursuit of profit, they now emphasise privacy features… in pursuit of profit. At least this shows a willingness to recognise that customers value privacy, and hopefully a desire to continue to improve both ethically, and operationally.