Written by:
Alex Liggatt

Never mind Brexit, what about my data?!

Someone once told me: if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear. What a load of crap.

I’ve nothing to hide, but everything to fear. My phone is listening to me, I watch Black Mirror as if it’s a documentary, and don’t even talk to me about Facebook.

With every new gadget I buy (I’ll admit, I’m so keen I often queue for them), I can almost feel the tech companies peering into my brain. But I’m not the only one with a case of data-paranoia-itis.

I spotted a survey recently that said UK organisations are more worried about their cybersecurity than they are about Brexit. That’s right. It may be less than two months before we ‘consciously uncouple’ from the EU but a quarter of all businesses are stressing more about cybercrime than they are about (potential) food shortages.

Even though Brexit is shaping up to be the stuff of nightmares for industry, leaving the EU seems a walk in the park compared to the number of devastating cyber attacks we’ve seen on businesses over the past 12 months.

I may be paranoid, but I’m not the only one who’s noticed these attacks are getting more targeted. You’ve only got to look at the data; retail suffered more data breaches in 2017 than any other sector.

But despite the retail industry’s best efforts to fight cybercrime, some of the world’s biggest brands continue to fall victim, due in part to the number of loopholes and vulnerabilities presented by third-party services.

Brands need to invest not only in the right tech to prevent against fraud and data loss, but also the right talent. I’m not saying it’s easy to find cybersecurity specialists, far from it. But it’s worth remembering, it takes less time and money to recruit the right person than it does to repair the reputational damage caused by a data breach. #Justsaying.

Last week, Apple’s chief exec Tim Cook went straight into my good books, calling for consumers to have more power over their data – the first tech executive to openly call for a US data privacy law. He’s made no bones about the fact he thinks Facebook and Google’s services are more like “surveillance” operations.

In his article in Time magazine he called for new legislation allowing people to see and delete their personal data on demand… “In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy – yours, mine, all of ours.” He’s not wrong.

Call me paranoid. Call me cynical. Call me what you like. But my data is just that – mine. And as for Brexit, who knows?



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