The year 2022 comes with numerous expectations and changes. The increased customer awareness about internet privacy is a new trend that leads to three more significant trends listed below.

  • Businesses get compelled to invest in data protection and be transparent about their measures.
  • Regulations regarding cookie usage tracking customer browsing, and fines for failure to protect data properly are getting stricter.
  • Customers are looking for alternatives for Google, Facebook, and other mainstream doyens who monitor and sell their data.

These three trends will influence the way the internet works and the way businesses get conducted online. From a simple new website to Google, every person must treat data as a valuable entity to regain their online privacy in 2022.

Customers Demand to Invest in Internet Privacy

2022 will see an enormous rise in popups that give you options to accept cookies, reject cookies or customize them as per your wish. Cookie laws are getting stricter around the world, and many countries are starting to take internet and data privacy seriously.

People trust the companies that give good data protection policies. Even common social media users have started demanding their data from WhatsApp, Facebook and other platforms must not be shared or recorded without their knowledge. Companies are investing to protect such data and make accessing it hard to increase internet privacy and security.

The media coverage of Equifax and Yahoo data breach, and the constant conversations on the internet about data security and privacy increased customer knowledge and awareness, about data privacy and protection multi-folds.

At the same time, there is a wealth of personal information already available on the internet. People are becoming more and more aware of it and look into their privacy settings and websites’ terms and conditions more often. However, the data available is pulled not only from social media but from public directories as well.

To see what the internet already knows about them, one can use Nuwber. Searching for the name or address will reveal what information other people can find about you on the internet.

New Stricter Laws

Even huge companies like Google and Amazon get enormous fines in millions of dollars for tracking and misusing customer data through automatic cookies. The laws are getting strict and hard to crack, and the governments are redefining what data is, what constitutes personal information, and core punishments for misuse of that data.

In the US, personal information meant name, address, and social security number for several decades. This information was termed Personally Identifiable Information (or PII) by the government, and there were laws on how to handle these details, protect them, and punishments for leaking them.

The California government is now taking steps under its California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, widely known as CPRA, which is now changing PII into "Sensitive Personal Information." SPI will now include details like IP address, voice, photos, and customers' mobile numbers.

All this data gets treated as personal information, and the laws pertaining to PII protection will be applicable for these data. Further, steps to include social media posts, card transaction history, and internet searches under personal information are taken. If it gets done, the marketing companies will no longer collect private data about a customer and create a user persona about them.

The laws that punish a person for exploiting someone's financial data or stealing their identity can punish people who access information illegally from social media or by tracking a person's internet history. It is a pioneering step in fighting against uncontrolled data access and providing better internet privacy.

Customers Searching for New Alternatives

The increased customer awareness kindles them to:

  1. Look for new, secure search engines. Customers using Chrome, FireFox and Edge, often use incognito or private browsing. Alternate browsers like Brave and Tor are also gaining immense popularity.
  2. Use new technologies to protect themselves like a password manager, two-factor authentication, and masking software to protect their card details while shopping online.
  3. Detach themselves from the current technology and look for safer means to protect their data. Using VPN or services to mask their location or working on intranet or extranet not connected to any ISP’s is becoming common among businesses and research groups. This trend is expected to rise in 2022 as universities and huge institutions requiring extra safety and protection will opt out of the general internet and use only their own private network.
  4. Demand the right to prohibit the sales of their PII data and ask for compensation if a company engages in such acts. Internet users demand their rights on controlling what details about them should be shown on sites and stored in internet databases.

The next major internet privacy trend in 2022 is the increased use of privacy protection software. Apart from normal antivirus, there is specific software for web protection, cookies handling, preventing internet tracking and malware spreading through links. People are willing to pay for them and even get customized software to protect their business or specific needs.

Private Sector Involvement

At present most of the high-end security services are provided by private companies. Businesses and individuals rely heavily on the private sector for their internet privacy and to keep their data safe. But, there is no monitoring body to control or regulate the private sector companies providing software and apps designed to protect personal and private data.

Several demands for monitoring such companies and imposing strict rules on handling their client data are raised worldwide. The seven principles of the UK GDPR law are followed by most international countries as a standard to manage and protect data.

Other countries like Australia are creating similar laws pertaining to the basic GDPR principles to regulate their private sector security service providing companies on the same level as government agencies are controlled.

Will AI and Biometrics Disappear?

Several experts are also predicting the data protection trend will take another interesting turn in 2022. This year might limit the increased use of AI and biometrics as these technologies give unlimited access to a person's data. Rules regarding what data to access through a person's biometrics will come into fruition in 2022.

Likewise, AI algorithms control what to show on the infinite scrolling page of the customer's social media feed. Limiting access to "Sensitive Personal Information" will highly influence how AI will work in the future.

Some experts predict both these technologies are no longer relevant in the current world and will soon go out of use. At present, there is no valid technology to replace personal identification other than AI and biometrics.

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