A common objection to privacy regulation is the idea that innovation will be stifled by anything which hinders a company’s ability to collect, analyze, and leverage personal data. But is this true? The claim is closely aligned with absolute free market ideology, and deprecates the value of privacy and free speech may have in the healthy growth of business, innovation, and the creation of a human-centric world. What if privacy protection were not a cumbersome bug, as some suggest, but a feature?
The ACLU has recently published “Privacy and Free Speech: It’s Good for Business,” a guide which “offers advice for companies wrestling with today’s most pressing challenges.” As the guide illustrates in over 100 case studies, businesses which build on a foundation of privacy and free speech help strengthen democracy, thwart bad actors, and have better long-term viability. If companies wish to protect brand equity and avoid catastrophically expensive litigation, embracing privacy and free speech challenges is essential.
Europe has largely led the way with privacy protection initiatives. We are now living in a post-GDPR world, and companies are gradually coming to terms with what it means to embrace this game-changing regulation. But it’s not only European leaders who are behind sweeping changes in the way multinational companies collect, share, and leverage our information. At least one multinational company is doubling down on calls for free speech and privacy protection: Apple.
According to SC Magazine, “Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners that his company is “in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States.” Cook believes “we will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.” The full video and transcript of Tim Cook’s keynote can be found here.
If you’re a privacy professional, take the time to review the ACLU guide and share the concepts with governance stakeholders and strategists at your company. There is real value in fostering a wider discussion about privacy by design and innovation.
As the ACLU says,
“The stakes are simply too high to ignore privacy and free speech, and with this guide, companies will have an important tool to protect their users and build their bottom line.”