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Get past scary privacy stats to focus on strong data supply chains

Get past scary privacy stats to focus on strong data supply chains

At this point in digital time, companies are either converts to data ethics or they are betting they will get lucky until something magical happens obviating the need for them to sweat out modern privacy tactics, strategies and policies.

It is hard to tell which group that management consulting firm KPMG L.L.C. is addressing in a new report on the need for corporate data ethics.

Of course, KPMG strongly favors executives aggressively pursuing data-use strategies that equally benefit consumers and companies. That is the progressive and responsible approach.

It also is not news. Advocating laissez-faire privacy policies would be novel today.

The bulk of the document is devoted to statistics to scare the “I feel lucky” crowd.

Almost nine in 10 consumers claim data privacy as a human right. Sixty-eight percent do not trust business to sell consumer data in an ethical manner.

Ninety-one percent point a finger at companies when asked who in society should “take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility.” But 84 percent said they would not rule out having government do it.

The ID2020 Alliance, a public-private group pushing for digital identification standards, reported favorably on KMPG’s report. It looks at the numbers and, correctly, sees a tool to possibly get companies moving on the matter. Digital identity and authentication will be the keystone for any privacy environment.

But if statistics could win the day, everyone in the world would be wearing masks. Trust in digital ID systems is already hindered by people’s relationships with companies, ID2020 points out.

Converts who are either starting to lean into this effort or who are always on the lookout for new privacy insights as the environment changes are addressed at the end of the report.

“Strong data supply chains can contribute to data privacy and security,” the report’s authors state. It is an important insight if for no other reason than most businesses do not know they are part of a data supply chain.

Executives in reality operate in a data supply web with multiple sellers and buyers using a multitude of technologies regulated in different jurisdictions (which have only just begun to grow rapidly in number and variety). And consumer data preferences are as individual as their shopping preferences.

The backdrop to this is that a large majority of executives do not have a clue about the sources, destinations and waypoints for consumer data within their own companies.

Jodi Morton, KMPG’s chief data officer, is quoted in the report saying, “You can’t properly protect customer data if you don’t have a firm grasp on data management” internally.

In fact, the report makes an unusually cogent argument for businesses turning expeditiously to artificial intelligence. There simply are too many variables that are evolving too quickly with complexity for conventional systems — much less human minds — to comprehend.

AI is able to step in today, according to KMPG, and is on the threshold of analyzing in real time, and per device, consumer behavior that might indicate that they need to change their privacy preferences.

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