How US Digital Privacy Laws Affect Us All

  • Post last modified:16 October 2022
  • Reading time:7 mins read

The Biden Administration has recently issued a new order to change privacy rules for transatlantic data transfers to the European Union. This new executive order addresses the European Court of Justice’s concerns with the existing data privacy framework by boosting transparency into US agencies’ use of EU personal data and the national security justifications for it. It also establishes a mechanism for EU citizens to seek review and recourse if they believe their personal data has been exploited in contravention of established privacy safeguards.

It is yet to be seen whether this new framework will be viable in action, but it opens up discussion for how US digital privacy laws affect internet users across the world. While the digital landscape is a vast place, there are ways to prevent your personal data from being exploited, including utilizing a VPN free from cost but powerful in safeguarding your digital privacy.

What is Digital Privacy?

Before we can regulate our digital privacy, we first need to understand what it is. Digital privacy is frequently referred to in contexts that encourage advocacy on behalf of individual privacy rights, and it is typically used in opposition to many e-marketers, corporations, and companies’ business practices of collecting and using such information and data.

The main type of data digital privacy concerns is personal data, also referred to as personally identifiable information (PII). This includes information such as your name, address, and social security number. Personal data can also include your Internet Protocol (IP) address and browser cookies.

How Businesses Use and Profit From Your Data

After companies collect your data, they turn your data into knowledge, using what they’ve learned to improve their marketing strategies and also make a cash flow by selling your data on to other third parties. In order to gain actionable insights from data collection, many businesses use machine learning algorithms and advanced AI technology to sift through vast amounts of data and contextualize the information.

There are several ways in which businesses utilize the data they collect. For starters, they can use customer data to secure even more sensitive information. Financial firms and banks, for example, may utilize speech recognition data to authorize a user’s access to their financial information or to safeguard them from fraudulent efforts to steal their information.

Businesses also utilize data to refine their marketing strategies. They can get a better understanding of how consumers respond to and engage with their campaigns and what they can adjust in order to achieve better results. Using data for marketing leans into the trend of marketing becoming more personalized, which can only be done if companies are segmenting data in order to find out which individuals are more likely to engage with their content.

Additionally, data brokers and data service providers who acquire and sell consumer information, have emerged as a new sector alongside Big Data. As this information becomes increasingly valuable to advertisers, collecting and selling information opens up new revenue sources for companies that scrape significant volumes of data.

What Are the Data Privacy Regulations?

The US implements a patchwork of both federal and state laws when it comes to data privacy. This means that the number of potential breaches of data privacy has grown over the years, which is why we are seeing data breaches so frequently in the news. One key federal law is the Federal Trade Commissions Act 1914 (FTC) which is the primary regulator in bringing enforcement actions against businesses.

The privacy mindset of the US and EU are very different, as US tech companies have great influence with the government over data transfer. On the other hand, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU imposes obligations to organizations and businesses everywhere in the world if they are collecting data on citizens of the EU. This is why the new order from the US is key in protecting consumer data from being unfairly exploited.

How You Can Protect Your Data

There are several ways in which you can protect your and your online identity. You can make use of useful tools, while also adopting good practices while online to ensure you don’t leave yourself prone to exploitation.

Securing your web browsing by using a VPN is a great way to add an extra layer of privacy and prevent third-party organizations from snooping on your online activity. It can also minimize tracking from your Internet Service Provider and government agencies. It is also important to secure your online accounts to prevent them from becoming compromised due to data leaks. Consider implementing a password manager to create and store strong passwords on your behalf. Keeping your devices updated with the latest software and operating systems can also stop hacking attempts as well as ensuring built-in antivirus software is operating.

By maintaining awareness of your digital privacy rights, you can prevent your data from being collected by those who you do not wish to share information with.

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