Data, today, fuels every small, medium, big company, industries, and economies across the globe. Its growing relevance in the tech market has gained momentum and the technology is already disrupting several verticals. However, with growing data and its accelerating processing, the responsibility of its privacy has also surged among data solution providers and consumers. Various regulatory bodies have come into action since the rise of big data and as they are paying attention and demanding actions, the monitoring has become even more mandatory.
For example, GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. The regulation was put into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR levies harsh fines against those who violate its privacy and security standards, with penalties reaching into the tens of millions of euros.
With the GDPR, Europe is signaling its firm stance on data privacy and security at a time when more people are entrusting their personal data with cloud services and breaches are a daily occurrence. The regulation itself is large, far-reaching, and fairly light on specifics, making GDPR compliance a daunting prospect, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
According to PwC’s recent Top Policy Trends 2020 report, data is not only the subject of regulation, but it’s also a powerful tool for businesses looking to engage in policy debates, and, importantly, an area of increasing regulation with which to comply. So, it is not surprising that at least seven policy areas have data in their midst — privacy, trade, healthcare, workforce, antitrust, tax, and artificial intelligence (AI). In terms of trade, more regional deals include technology provisions about how and where data is stored.
Antitrust investigations are no longer only about traditional physical monopolies and are also focusing on companies that have economic dominance through the sheer amount of data they control. European countries wish to impose digital services taxes based on where data is generated, rather than where a business has a physical residence. Nations are asserting sovereign rights over emerging technologies, given the import, they are thought to have on the economy — in particular, with regard to AI. Individuals are exercising their right to control the data they share or generate.
As these trends strengthen, it is likely that regulation will as well, and, as data affects policy, the coming year should see governments and organizations develop informed policy positions and widen enforcement. With citizens, regulators, and businesses agitating — and agitated — it is time to prepare for data’s impact on your world.
Moreover, data is changing many policy areas today and will continue to do so in the near future. Privacy and transparency concerns, trade regulations, antitrust laws, digital taxes, AI, and a changing workforce are all forcing companies to think differently about policy. And all have implications that business needs to acknowledge.
By complying with the highest standards, actively engaging with policymakers, and pursuing policies with purpose, multinational businesses will be able to navigate the fragmented policy environment in today’s complex, data-driven, highly digitized world.