In a report from The New York Times last week, Facebook announced that it expected to be fined up to $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations, stemming from their work with Cambridge Analytica, as well as a data breach which exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.
While $5 billion sounds like an amount of money that could topple a business, for those the size of Facebook (or Google, or others), it’s merely a bump in the road. Further, Facebook isn’t the first tech company to face fines (see France Fines Google Nearly $57 million for First Major Violation of New European Privacy Regime, January 21, 2019, Washington Post), and most certainly won’t be the last.
And while it seems unbelievable, a fine of this magnitude won’t stop people from trading their privacy to participate on these social media platforms. After all, during the same call, Facebook stated that “about 1.56 billion people use Facebook every day, up 8% from a year ago.” These same social media giants who are currently using and abusing our data are the same garage (or college) upstarts that built the market for a connected, always-on community at our fingertips.
If you’re a smaller organization that stores personal user data, this is (or should be) a wake-up call. Regulators, both domestically and globally, are watching, and are acting in your stead to protect consumers from privacy violations. The fines being levied can be catastrophic, and can spell the difference between continued success and failure in a matter of minutes.
Further, don’t assume that it’s just the social media or tech giants that are in danger of fines. Any company that profits off of personal data and other information will be disadvantaged and continue to suffer from these types of liabilities.
So what can be done? Companies can examine their business model and de-risk their organization by giving customers back the control and power of their own data through decentralized web technologies. The web is untangling quickly, and it will soon become evident which companies are profiting from, and in some cases even abusing data, versus entrusting data back to their customers.
The decentralized web allows your customers to store their data in personal online data stores (PODs), permitting access only to the people, apps, groups, or businesses they value and trust (yourself included). Regulatory and risk burdens ease (to the relief of your CFO and Chief Compliance Officer), and your customers are emboldened to control and grant access wherever and whenever they please.
Janeiro is at the heart of this next new wave of business innovation – we’re working closely with inrupt, systems integrators, and the developer community to help define the technology and bring Solid to the global market. In effect, we’re reshaping the web and the market to center around you, the individual.
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