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Privacy has been the whipping boy since Edward Snowden revelations in 2013. The necessity of obfuscating privacy had never been a matter of public debate. NSA & it’s cohorts created a data regime which was unimaginable to even the best professionals & governance experts. World’s operational encryption was decided here. Simultaneously, the IT giants had joined the party. These companies became data enterprises, generated from the world over by billions of users, the data being monetized, in the worst form of crash commercialization. Improving consumer experience is a euphemism.

Jim Collins is his management epic Built to Last has talked about the fear psychosis of OR, and the comfort of AND. In simple words it means that contradictory strands of thought & operations co-exist in this world. They cannot be rejected as counter productive right away. The urge to have a clear choice of black & white might not be a luxury which most of us are provided with. The security / privacy debate falls in the same genre. Movikng further, privacy / innovation is also falling into the same mould. The challenge is to break straight jacketed mindset & technology & processes to make both happen.

Then security vs privacy debate seems to be running out of steam. The available data & analysis has not been able to establish a correlation between the two. The security paranoa serves the purpose of enterprises who have created it. With GDPR & other data protection laws coming in place, privacy stifles innovation is new bogey being raised. Innovation can happen only on free & private data without consent, is a mental construct which is farthest from truth. Free & manipulatable data makes monetization of data easy, fast and straight.

The direct connect between lack of privacy & innovation is not substantiated by facts from the innovation’s poster boy Steve Jobs to the Iron Man Elon Musk. Facebook was created without private data.


Sanjay Sahay

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