The Future of Online Privacy

What’s the future of online privacy?

There’s likely no more giant question mark than what the future of online privacy will look like. Over the last decade, online privacy has taken many hits to its integrity and security. Government and legal are stepping in to make changes to laws, hoping to stem some of the erosion of trust that we, the people, are experiencing with online privacy, but is it enough? What else can be done?
 The evolution of online trust is in constant flux, and there doesn’t seem to be one specific answer to where we’re heading with online privacy. However, we can look at the factors that will impact it as we move forward and hopefully (at least) get a better understanding of how it might be shaped. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that might have a significant impact on online privacy as we move forward.

Increased usage of encryption technologies: Encryption of files and digital content at rest and during transport offers an added level of protection and security for your digital content. More and more storage providers are offering encryption services for your stored files. These encryption methods and techniques are evolving every day as the persistence of nefarious actors continues to proliferate the online world. Encryption is sure to play a crucial role in online privacy as time goes on.

Data Minimization: Consumers and companies are starting to look deeper at what they’re storing in their online clouds. More specifically, the focus is moving to what needs to be stored versus what does not. Data minimization is the process of reducing the amount of content we put into the cloud by focusing more diligently on collecting and storing only files and data that is absolutely necessary to be retained. Data minimization is a very effective way of reducing the risks of an online privacy breach.

Data Protection Laws: As we touched on earlier, one of the keys to the future of online privacy resides with the governments and regulators making laws that directly impact the future of online privacy. Some countries are already taking steps to ensure data anonymity and sovereignty, while others are still waiting to see how these regulations will impact the real world. Ultimately, data protection laws will significantly impact our online privacy and security in the coming months and years.

Zero Knowledge Proof: This emerging technology promises to impact our online privacy. Zero-knowledge proof is an algorithm that enables the verification or “proof” of something, such as a user identity, without conveying any additional information beyond the fact that the identity is confirmed. Wiki explains, “The essence of zero-knowledge proofs is that it is trivial to prove that one possesses knowledge of certain information by simply revealing it; the challenge is to prove such possession without revealing the information itself or any additional information.” To summarize, the zero-knowledge proof will have an impact on how users engage and identify in online networking over the next decade.

Blockchain: Blockchain-based file storage and transfer systems are quickly becoming key networking architectures for managing files and data while adding security and transparency to file storage systems. Blockchains incorporate a public ledger that shows each transaction that has occurred since the chain came into existence. Having the transactions visible publicly fosters a significant amount of trust for the users of the systems.  
Decentralized Systems: Blockchain-based networks also offer decentralization. Decentralization means that instead of having all your files and data stored in a single centralized, online cloud server, your files and data are spread out across a larger geographic area and across multiple storage repositories. Decentralization provides the advantage of storing your files and data closer to you, making access faster and easier. Decentralization also means that access to your content is more difficult for nefarious actors. With centralized file storage, it is easier for a hacker to attack the data storage repositories because they all reside in the exact physical location and under the same control mechanisms. Decentralized file and data storage puts content in various storage repositories spread geographically, making it far harder to target your data.

Privacy Awareness: A final factor that can have a significant impact on the future of online privacy is simply our awareness. Companies and consumers are becoming far savvier about how and where their files and data are stored, forcing the companies providing storage services to be more inventive and creative with file and data security.
 There isn’t a single answer to what the future of online security holds, but becoming familiar with the factors we’ve shared that impact it will help us to become more educated consumers and be more demanding when it comes to the sovereignty and security of our data.

 Internet Privacy Laws – How your personal information is protected online | Reuters

Zero Knowledge Proof | Wikipedia

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