New privacy controls give users more power over their data

June 2021

Technology giants are increasingly receptive to implementing changes to their privacy policies, much more closely aligned with the most widely recognized contemporary regulatory framework: the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In this pendulum swing from the Common Law of the United States of America towards European Continental Law – in matters of personal data protection – we have observed important modifications.

In particular, we can highlight a recent agreement established by GOOGLE INC. on elements directly related to the so-called Principle of Proactive Responsibility (Accountability), which consists in a reinforcement of the obligations on the framework of duties assumed by data controllers and data processors, transferring with greater force the exercise of controls and supervision with respect to the data.

In this way, new policies are being implemented in terms of what is known as Privacy by Design, an advance determination of the platforms in order to reinforce their controls and limit possible misaligned uses of the data subjects’ informed consent, this as an ex-ante formula. The exact opposite of the concept of Privacy by Default.

Along these lines and in this approach to techniques by design, it is announced that users will now be able to delete their respective search histories within fifteen minutes of performing a search, among other new features. For example: a new photo folder that is locked and password-protected on Pixel, an improved password manager designed to be used across all devices, even alerting users when a password is found that could be used for a data breach, and so on and so forth.

In fact, last month, Apple introduced new app tracking transparency controls in its new iOS update. Now, iPhone users are allowed to choose to track or not track their actions in apps so that they can be offered content similar to what they are looking for or consuming, and the same with advertising.

All of the above, for example, in Google’s business exercise, represents a momentous step. We should remember that being able to target people based on data collected by Google about their interests or demographics has been immensely valuable to advertisers, so the move could even conflict with Google’s core business of online search advertising.

At the same time, however, it is true that a growing number of people are becoming increasingly privacy-conscious about their data and there is pushback from regulators and rivals, such as Apple.

“Google is taking small steps to meet the expectations of its users by improving privacy features in future offerings” commented Telsyte principal analyst Foad Fadaghi in an interview with The Guardian.

Of course, what is clear is that we are increasingly aware of the risks that the online world poses to our data; but, in turn, the online world itself – through the representation of its companies – is also aware of the existence of these dangers, so that, little by little and step by step, it is choosing to improve and protect users and, of course, our data. And we are sure that this is only a small step in all the developments to come.

Mauricio Garro | Sara del Río

Source: The Guardian