Internet privacy has been a world-wide growing concern for many years, but 2022 may well be a year of significant change. With increased attention on internet privacy regulation, new business strategies and tech development will be aimed at finding alternative solutions to practices and systems currently in use that will be drastically affected by these very same privacy regulations.
Concern for Internet Privacy Grows in the U.S.
The biggest problem with regulating anything on the internet is one of geography. Because the “World Wide Web” is accessible practically anywhere, it makes it challenging for any one government, whether national, regional, or local, to have much impact on actually enforcing any privacy law or regulation. However, the more laws that get passed protecting privacy, the more likely other governing bodies that have been slower to take internet privacy seriously will respond with their own laws. 2022 could very well be the beginning of the tipping point.
In November of 2020, California voted the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA) into law. While it doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2023, there has been ongoing debate and speculation about what changes will need to be made to privacy policies, marketing and advertising strategies, and even digital platforms themselves to conform to this new law.
Since CPRA became law, Virginia and Colorado also enacted similar internet privacy laws and many more states have legislation in the works. As all these laws come into effect and businesses and the public adjust to them, federal lawmakers will certainly be taking notes for future federal regulation. Because of this, it’s prudent for anyone doing business on the web to take note of some of the bigger changes that these laws could bring this year.
How Will New Internet Privacy Regulations Affect Businesses?
There are three main areas that are of prime concern to internet privacy regulation:
- How Businesses Protect Personal Information
- How Consumers Can Control How Their Data Is Used
- How Data is Shared
The first two privacy concerns on this list have more to do with how a business directly interacts with a consumer (web user). New regulations will be aimed at what data can be collected, how it is stored and used, and the procedures consumers have to go through to control their data. Solutions for the above will generally be handled by website solutions and in house data handling procedures where technology will undoubtedly provide some excellent solutions through plugins and other website-based technologies.
The third item on the list, how data is shared, is really where some of the biggest concerns are for both user privacy and how internet advertisers track users. Because these two things are for all general purposes diametrically opposed, this is where the more critical debates, and hopefully solutions, will develop.
The Quest for An Alternative to Browser Cookies
The core of the cookie issue is third-party cookies, which are accessible on any website the user visits. These are the cookies that track your behavior as you visit different websites. If you’ve ever visited a website for the first time and were served an ad for an item you had previously viewed or researched on the web, this was due to a third-party cookie.
First party cookies on the other hand are far less of a privacy issue since they are only available on the domain in which they were created. These allow for easy, yet secure, logins on a frequently visited site and an overall better user experience, whether you are shopping, reviewing account information, or needing to return to a specific web page or preference setting.
Early this year, Google launched Google Topics which is a replacement technology for third-party cookies. Topics offers data from anonymized groups of Chrome users with similar interests rather than individualized data. While much of the internet advertising world is quaking in its boots over the loss of the ability to track users through the use of third-party cookies, the reality is that new technology is beginning to step in to find that important compromise between protecting a user’s data and offering that user a unique and tailor-made web experience.
How Will New Internet Privacy Changes Affect Consumers?
For you the consumer, all these new privacy regulations and technological changes are designed to protect you and your information. For the most part, they will be undetectable unless you feverishly monitor the ads you are being served. The upside is that your personal information will be more protected from spammers and hackers, and your personal identity in turn will be much safer.
Lawmakers May Be Finally Grasping the Need to Regulate Technology
Technology moves fast. So fast that Internet technology has far outpaced both the understanding of most lawmakers around the world, and their attempts to regulate it. But these new privacy regulations in the works are a positive sign that governing bodies everywhere are both taking your privacy and personal information more seriously and that they are finally getting more tech savvy.
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