5 min read

Systemic embrace: the coexistence of data dignity, compliance and growth

In the often dizzying and confusing arena of data privacy, a new normal is rapidly unfolding, a paradigm that elevates data rights and data dignity. Characterized by a wave of new regulations and competing imperatives, the complexity of this new paradigm can overwhelm and paralyze business leaders searching for the ideal and responsible path forward.

Many believe they face an impossible Sophie’s Choice: Dismiss privacy requirements and use personal data to grow -- or comply and stagnate.

They are wrong.

There are leaders who understand the opportunity inherent in respecting data privacy and data dignity and they grasp that it’s possible to build value while honoring values.

Steve Jobs was leading the way in 2010:

“I believe people are smart and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you're going to do with their data.”

Effective solutions that respect and protect data privacy build trust with consumers. It veins with responsible stewardship of data and abides by Steve Jobs’ admonition to ask customers about data uses and to keep asking about their needs, wants, and priorities.

Most of all, it puts customer prescriptions and desires around the allowable use of data into action. Doing so builds trust, and building trust fuels privacy-compliant data stores -- the precondition for successful operations and AI.

Leaders like Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, are doubling down on the idea of data dignity as an extension to data privacy.

At the 2020 World Economic Forum, Nadella declared that data privacy at an individual level needs to be thought of as a human right and called for further work on the concept of “data dignity”:

“It’s not just ‘privacy’ and ‘oh, I give away my data’. I should be able to control in a much more fine-grained way how my data is being used to create utility for me and the world and the causes I care about”

When it comes to managing the interplay between the promise of data and the imperative for privacy, companies fall into four basic states: resigned surrender, wishful denial, ruinous inertia, or systemic embrace.

Ruinous inertia: These companies don’t pursue data-driven initiatives or invest in their enabling tools and processes, yet also fail to comply with basic privacy regulations governing their interactions with employees, partners, and consumers.

Resigned surrender: These companies have resolved that the risks of non-compliance are existential and therefore too perilous to ignore, and on that basis have opted to suppress their collection and usage of data across multiple channels and platforms (particularly digital marketing initiatives that depend on consumer data).

Wishful denial: These are companies who take liberties with data and blast full steam ahead with the quiet recognition that they’re non-compliant with regulations they know pertain to them. They are either in denial about the risks, or in denial that their non-compliance could ever be discovered or significantly damage their business.

Systemic embrace: These companies recognize the risks of non-compliance, the opportunities that come from cultivating privacy and greater trust with stakeholders, and the strategic imperative to participate fully in the data AI revolution. They reject Sophie’s Choice and are committed to the systemic pursuit of compliance and growth.  

Systemic Embrace is the path to peaceful -- and profitable -- coexistence of data dignity, compliance and growth. It recognizes the rising urgency of data privacy and the enduring premise of data-driven growth.

To learn more about how businesses are responding to the complexity of privacy- check out the Ketch Privacy Primer Part 2 here.

Privacy Tech
April 16, 2021

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