Entering a moral digital age: a new paradigm in privacy regulation

Entering a moral digital age: a new paradigm in privacy regulation

Since the pandemic began just over two years ago, most of us are spending more time online. In fact, so many of our day to day activities have moved online that we’re no longer just looking up information. We’re shopping, chatting to friends, and of course, working. But this hasn’t been the only change. 

Over the last few months and years, how we share our personal data has been evolving and adapting too. The question is, are we really sure we know how much of our personal data is being shared? And why do we even need to share that information in the first place? Do we know how safe it is? If it’s being sold on? These are all questions we should be asking, and that good news is that we are. We've started to see a growing awareness on how people’s personal data is being used and who it’s being shared with. 

Up until now, we’ve always been told that the more data a company has and the more it knows about us, the better our browsing experience will be. It improves our search results and the content we see online, which of course, includes the ads we’re shown. But is this really true? In this article, we’re taking a look at what data protection actually means, and why it’s important for consumers to know their rights and equally for brands to respect them.

How is privacy regulated?

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR as it’s better known; the European regulation that governs the protection of EU residents’ data, came into force. Within its scope are any and all companies that collect, store, process, use or manage EU citizens' data, regardless of where the company is or what it does. 

Among the most important areas of the regulation are the right to be forgotten and the right to portability. These two areas give consumers the right to decide on the deletion or retrieval of their data. In other words, GDPR makes it possible to ask a company whether your data is being processed and if so, for what purpose. And this is how it should be. Personal data should belong to the individual, not the companies that capture and often exploit it for their own gain. 

So, what is personal data?

What do we mean by personal data? Well, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Personal data refers to any type of information that can be used to identify a person, either directly or indirectly, such as your name, telephone number, email address, age, city, race, gender, etc. All of this data is known as Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

There are two types of PII: sensitive and non-sensitive information.

  • Sensitive information. This refers to any type of information that can cause harm to the individual and must be encrypted. Sensitive data refers to Social Security numbers, medical and financial information and so on. 
  • Non-sensitive information. This can be transmitted in unencrypted form. Here, we’re talking about information obtained from public records, company directories, etc.

The shift towards a moral digital age

Even though we’ve had almost four years to get our heads around GDPR, there are still companies that aren’t 100% GDPR compliant. All you have to do is look at the fines that are being handed out to see which countries and companies are lagging behind. But change is coming, and more companies are now realising the importance of respecting people’s data. They’re also understanding that ethics can add value to a business. 

At Motive.co, that’s what we believe too. It’s a belief instilled in us from our sister company Empathy.co, who have been offering Search & Discovery built on trust for the last decade. Motive.co is a new plug-and-play Commerce Search tool that not only offers a beautiful search experience, but is designed to respect customer privacy. 

Motive Commerce Search was born with a clear purpose; to lead the shift towards a moral digital age. That means no more data tracking, no spying and of course, no third-party data sharing. All while creating a joyful, intuitive and trustworthy experience. 

Our goal is to help brands build a shop where their customers feel comfortable. A shop where their privacy is respected. And a shop where customers enjoy their shopping experience and want to come back time and time again. 

It's time to re-think how things are done and how we want them to be done. Isn’t it time you joined the ethical revolution?