Privacy in the brave new digital world wasn’t always so important. The privacy activists who tried to raise their voices a couple of decades ago were few and far between. They didn’t even get much attention from the mainstream. But then, Edward Snowden’s revelations surfaced online, drawing unprecedented attention to online privacy trends and best practices.
Eventually, the recurrent events of security breaches, data abuses by businesses, and government surveillance, created mainstream interest in digital privacy. Likewise, the subject “privacy,” activists, and related news gained momentum and credibility.
Interestingly, the year 2021 witnessed the most progress in this regard (so far). Now, the keenest observers also expect better internet privacy in 2022.
Online privacy trends for 2022 – The quick list
- More false promises. Expect more businesses to trick you with huge privacy promises sans appropriate measures.
- Farewell to cookies. Browsers will ultimately put an end to cookie tracking.
- Expect biometrics everywhere. That’s because biometric verification is the easiest and (by far) safest authentication method for every user.
- Privacy by design. This old notion is finally becoming mainstream as more and more companies respect their users’ privacy.
- Artificial Intelligence fuels Big Brother. Expect advanced AI-powered workplace monitoring tools to replace the existing employee tracking software.
- Increasing regulations. Followed by Europe’s GDPR, California’s CCPA and many more legislations are coming up to regulate online privacy issues.
- Awareness and growing fines. More fines will automatically push businesses to comply with privacy regulations.
- Education and training. Apart from training employees, businesses will not also try to educate customers regarding online privacy – something that the world already started witnessing in 2021.
- Third-party risk management. Companies can no more put the burden of privacy abuses on third parties. Such risk management will ensure better privacy.
Specifically, 2021 was a good year for privacy, considering the various noteworthy measures that got in place globally. For instance, new regulations are in the works in Japan and Australia. Similarly, Saudi Arabia and China, not exactly the world’s privacy paladins, signed some new privacy bills into law. (That’s indeed significant progress as it creates a legal framework for privacy issues instead of leaving everything to the authorities’ will).
But governments and lawmakers do not make up the whole story. Typically, privacy legislation is only as good as the tech giants’ implementation at the software and hardware level. Fortunately, there’s progress on this front as well. For example, Apple and others are making their software more privacy-friendly.
Whenever a new thing gains traction at the mainstream level, an inevitable market comes along to assuage the people’s worries. So yes, there is a privacy protection market as well, and it’s set to be higher than ever.
But what does it all mean at the practical level? How will it affect you directly? First, let’s see the outlook for privacy for the next year and see what we could expect.
1. False privacy promises will be on the rise
The digital world comprises many different industries. They all know that their consumers’ awareness of privacy has risen steadily in recent years. They also know that that awareness has also created some discontent regarding the data collectors and advertising giants.
So, one of the most expected digital life trends for 2022 is for people to become more aware of privacy and demand an unprecedented level of transparency for the industry. Manufacturers and service providers ought to deal with their discontent can reflect in financial terms for the sectors. Consequently, many carriers will likely offer higher degrees of transparency to their end-users.
One significant step in that direction is Apple’s iOS 15.2. It enables users to find the apps tracking them and the data they require.
But can we expect everybody else to follow Apple’s lead? That’s unlikely. Other actors may keep collecting user information. But they will learn new tricks to obfuscate their activity, thus annihilating transparency rather than improving it.
As that trend grows, it will be critical for concerned users to remain critical about the privacy that some vendors offer because they could mislead.
2. Farewell to cookies
Another noteworthy data privacy forecast for 2022 is the end of cookies. Yes, the “cookie,” that ubiquitous spy that lingers hidden at the heart of any browser we use, could go away for good.
But are cookies going away because the software providers are concerned for privacy? Not really!
Instead, some structural changes are underway within the advertising industry. Google and Apple have been working on new ways to do the cookie job without cookies for a while, which they may finally deploy this year.
Additionally, the trend among the major browsers is to end the support for third-party tracking.