Digital privacy: definition, importance, advantages and disadvantages

Digital privacy is about respecting the rights of users and protecting their personal information from cybercrime or unauthorized use.  This...
14 March 2023

Table of contents

Digital privacy: definition, importance, advantages and disadvantages

Digital privacy is about respecting the rights of users and protecting their personal information from cybercrime or unauthorized use. 

This protection has evolved as new technologies have entered the reality of the so-called information society.  

In the case of companies, having a privacy policy in place increases the trust of the customers and employees, since respecting their privacy directly affects the dignity and freedom of individuals.

Aware of its great importance, we would like to share with you the meaning of digital privacy, in general and in companies in particular, but we would also like to address its advantages and disadvantages in order to help you understand the implications and challenges you may face when using the Internet and other digital environments.

What is digital privacy?

Digital privacy is a right that seeks to ensure the protection and safeguarding of the personal data of users accessing a service over the Internet. 

This protection methodology must ensure that digital users, both individuals and companies can at all times know, decide and control the treatment of their personal data collected on a website, application or social network. 

In this way, it must be possible to guarantee that the data of a person or company using these media cannot be accessed by other users without prior authorization or consent to consult, download and/or use them from the legitimate owners. 

In this quest for personal data security, differential privacy is becoming increasingly relevant.

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What is Differential Privacy?

Differential privacy is one of the tools you can use to improve the confidentiality of your business or project and is part of what is called Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET). 

These technologies are based on different mathematical and computational mechanisms to extract value from data of commercial, scientific or social interest without compromising the privacy and security of the personal data collected through information abstraction strategies. 

What is the importance of digital privacy?

The importance of digital privacy lies in the fact that in many states in the U.S., data collection by companies is unregulated

This means that companies can use, sell or share any type of data without the user’s knowledge and without having to notify anybody of the use. 

The regulation of private data in the United States depends on each state and is characterized by federal and state laws

In this sense, data protection in the United States is regulated quite differently than in Europe, where there is a General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

The laws mentioned in the previous paragraph highlight the serious risks that failure to protect your privacy can pose to individuals, exposing them to dangers such as:  

  • Identity theft. 
  • Bullying or cyberbullying
  • Introduction of viruses into their systems. 
  • Use of personal images for sexting, child pornography, etc. 
  • Theft of intellectual property. 

In particular, online platforms are vehicles for the transmission of sensitive personal information and must, therefore, ensure privacy on the Internet by ensuring that personal data is collected only under strict security conditions and that it is used only and exclusively for legitimate and consented purposes.  

What is digital privacy?

Benefits of digital privacy

Having tools that ensure privacy brings a myriad of benefits, which we describe below: 

  • Ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of users, who see their data only under secure and consented conditions. 
  • Increase the competitiveness of services and internal processes by prioritizing the security and privacy of sensitive data. 
  • Prevent information security breaches and improve document management through better data control that minimizes information leakage or malicious access.  
  • Become a differentiator by ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, availability, and continuous updating of data.
  • Build trust with teams, customers and suppliers by demonstrating a clear commitment to protecting sensitive data. 
  • Meet legal obligations to protect personal information and comply with digital privacy regulations within the legal framework to avoid penalties or lawsuits. 

Disadvantages of digital privacy 

There are disadvantages to digital privacy and we list the most important ones below: 

  • Risk of gaps in privacy settings that allows individuals’ digital privacy to be compromised. 
  • Complex and sometimes costly implementation, both financially and in terms of resources. 
  • Difficulty in assessing the benefits of using data versus the costs of protecting it.
  • Risk of limiting the effectiveness of data-driven initiatives mitigated by the privacy measures adopted.
  • Possible friction in interactions with users due to the application of very restrictive and strict privacy measures. 

Disadvantages of not having a digital privacy strategy

On the other hand, not having a digital privacy strategy can also be the source of a significant number of disadvantages. Besides, it can lead to consequences of different nature that affect the reputation and rights of users: 

  • Facing financial penalties as well as legal consequences related to criminal, civil and employment liability for misuse of third party data.   
  • Risk of exposing trade secrets through digitally published information. 
  • Impact on daily operations due to system failures, human error in data handling, etc. 
  • Risk of cyberattacks if personal data is exposed. 
  • Possible serious damage to a project’s image, visibility and credibility of the person or brand, even threatening its very existence. 
Why is digital privacy important?

Importance of automation

At this point and as we have addressed in these lines, having a strategy to ensure digital privacy in your company becomes necessary. 

In this sense, process automation can be a great ally in helping you avoid human error in handling such sensitive data or potential security breaches. 

To achieve this, you can automate audit reports and regulatory requirements or use automated identity controls to manage access to your platforms, your hiring processes or your training, creating secure and respectful environments thanks to, for example, a remote monitoring or proctoring system. 

At Smowltech, we have developed a series of flexible and scalable proctoring plans that also provide you with parameterized reports on your digital processes in compliance with GDPR in an effective and simple way.

Ask for a free demo so that we can show you specialized solutions and so that the privacy of your processes does not become a source of concern, but an added value. 

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