Access and Feeds

The Imperative of Data Privacy

By Dick Weisinger

In the digital age, data privacy has emerged as a critical issue for US citizens. The rapid adoption of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) for enterprise business scenarios has ushered in a new era of unprecedented creativity, utility, and productivity. However, the security and privacy risks associated with ingesting and exposing sensitive data such as personal identifiable information (PII) have now become clear.

Companies are collecting more Americans’ data than ever before, and it is often legally sold and resold through data brokers. This sale of Americans’ data raises significant privacy, counterintelligence, blackmail risks, and other national security risks. The real-world risks of not securing PII before it is ingested, or not having a well-tested model, can include unintentional data loss, sensitive IP exposure, and even potential infringement on regional data privacy regulations.

The White House and federal agencies have led the charge in regulating privacy and cybersecurity in the United States. The White House doubled down on its push to implement a national strategy on cybersecurity, with important implications for federal, state, and private entities. Numerous federal agencies have promulgated privacy and data protection regulations and guidance on a range of issues, including cyber-incident disclosure, children’s online privacy, biometric and genetic data, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic decision-making.

Looking ahead, the future of data privacy is promising. New privacy regulations are expected to be finalized in 2024, bringing new protections to even more people. Technologies that enable and enhance privacy (privacy-enhancing technologies or PETs) will also likely take center stage. Once regulatory enforcement begins for new laws like the Digital Markets Act, we will likely see rapid and significant changes in the operations of big tech companies, and in smaller companies that rely on those platforms.

The importance of data privacy for US citizens cannot be overstated. As technology continues to evolve, so too must our approach to ensuring the privacy and security of our data.

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