Covid-19 has driven the acceleration of data privacy as a preoccupation for people.
As health policies and initiatives make more privacy demands via data, our forecast is that consumers will increasingly feel caught in the ‘crossfire’ of a government/brand/hacker ‘Privacy War’.
This will change brand relationships and expectations, and create new imperatives.
Our personal data is now a currency chased by brands, by governments and increasingly, with Covid-19 disruption, by recreational hackers.
The Internet Crime Complaint Centre reports a 4-fold increase in complaints (1) and across the world in hospitals, cyber-criminals are using ransomware to hold healthcare services hostage preventing them from accessing patients’ files.
Simultaneously, we are entering the age of health tracing with mass Covid-19 tracking apps, privacy has, therefore, become a public health issue like never before.
The impact will be broad and deep. Data strategies will play an even greater role in people’s brand decision making. We should expect a privacy backlash as people grow fearful of mass tracing implications and hacking.
In the United States, 62% of US citizens believe Covid-19 tracing apps are unacceptable, while in India, Aarogya Setu, a much-criticised Covid-19 tracking app became mandatory for all workers. For those that were non-compliant, they faced fines or more seriously, jail time (2).
As we move forward, we can expect more consumers to use their data as a bargaining chip to drive value or open up new experience levels.
We should expect also to see more data escape strategies from people: fake information; Bluetooth jammers; offline mode dark devices.
Data power and trust, potentially backed up by Blockchain access, will become a key product and service decision making factor; and a major priority for brands across industries.
For brands, they must get ahead of the ‘data story’; partake in proactive security and trust-building measures.
But unless it’s backed up by clear, verifiable data, ‘trust’ will be an empty brand promise for the data-savvy consumer majority.
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