Consumer privacy is a rising concern among internet users, especially with the advancement in the field of IT, including artificial intelligence. Internet users across the globe are worried about online data security and privacy. According to an Intouch International survey, 67% of internet users in the US are vouching for stricter privacy laws.   

Policymakers from different countries are equally concerned about the rising hacking incidences or scams, which has resulted in privacy legislation like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It was the first of the few significant steps taken in the direction of legal protections for consumers. Even the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act is the first legislation in the US. The other states are also trying to pass similar legislation, and national measures of grander scale are being framed.

There’s a greater complex conflict that contradicts such legislations or protections: technologies like artificial intelligence always need a large volume of consumer data for optimized delivery. Thus, the pressure is on the government, industry, and society to balance the need for data and the protections demanded by the consumers. There’s an inherent conflict between privacy and AI, which the legal structures have to manage. 

Let us look at the status of privacy in 2020.

Shifting Targets 

The biggest problem in solving the conflict between privacy and AI is that privacy has never been clearly defined or enforced because of its complex and abstract nature.  However, over time, privacy has changed wherein informational privacy and data security has taken center stage while other aspects of privacy are still relevant. Thus, with time, privacy has gotten more complex. 

The introduction of AI has further added to the complexity. Consumers are encountering lengthy and complex user agreements that they have to accept hastily. However, they approve the user agreements without realizing the degree of privacy rights they might be giving away. Whatever information consumers share nowadays end up in huge databases that are mined for several uses, including purchase recommendations, marketing opportunities, or other similar servers. Data fetched by the voice identification or facial recognition applications are capable of real-time tracking of all our movements. The use of several smart appliances and devices like motion-sensing electrical devices, thermostats, and smart TV that continuously collects data can also track your movements on a real-time basis.  

These tools provide essential services but bring more risks as well. AI need incredible volumes of data, which gives the third-party platform owners more reasons to track, monitor, and profile individuals and their behaviors. Facial recognition, in tandem with other AI applications, can be used for greater and deeper surveillance. Now, these things raise several concerns about privacy for consumers. 

Laws for Addressing Privacy Issues 

These trends influence legislators in different countries. As a result, regulations like GDPR come into action. Even the privacy law of California is a step in the same direction where it covers about 40 million US citizens. 

Privacy is a complex subject to define as well as safeguard, especially in the era of AI. Decent privacy legislation that can tackle issues with advanced technology like AI must include the following:

  • Emphasize the transparency of AI systems 
  • Consumers must always have the choice of opting out 
  • Data collected for AI systems should have limitations 
  • Consumers’ requests for data deletion must be followed with immediate effect 

These steps are enough to safeguard user data against AI-based data abuse, lack of consent, and discrimination. However, all said and done, it’s not an easy feat to get the US legislators on the same page and frame a watertight privacy policy. A federal bill called the Future of Artificial Intelligence Act had taken the first steps at safeguarding consumer privacy against AI-based abuses. However, the recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has raised concerns about the absence of a substantial internet privacy law that covers areas like the collection, sale, and use of an individual’s personal information. 

How Consumers Escape Constant Data Collection

A VPN or Virtual Private Network offers end-to-end encryption for all information exchanged between your device and the web. However, it doesn’t offer any additional protection when you voluntarily share information with third parties. For instance, Atlas VPN creates a safe passage for data transmission between your device and server while warding off hacking or eavesdropping attempts. Even though a VPN doesn’t guarantee complete data security, it safeguards personal and financial information exchanged online. The biggest advantage of a VPN is that it creates a safety bubble that’s hard for anyone to penetrate. So, users are able to fight off the attempts to collect their data, which could later be used for various purposes.


Comments are closed.