Does Privacy Help, or Hinder, Innovation?

This morning I attended the Future of Privacy + Innovation Workshop in San Francisco. The event was presented by the University of Hastings College of Law Privacy and Technology Project, along with the Attorney General of California Kamala D. Harris. The keynote and first panel session left no doubt that privacy is here to stay. The question is, will adherence to privacy practices present a trade-off in business growth?

Some are concerned that privacy might inhibit innovation. The panelist from Hackers and Founders explained his perspective as a series of zeros and ones, where data flows freely without boundaries. He is a builder who just wants the facts, and emphasizes how helpful it would be if there were tools that made it easy for a developer to know if they are in compliance with privacy laws.

Some take the position that privacy will bolster businesses by building consumer trust. By designing privacy into products upfront, users will feel empowered to make choices about their data.

Which side of the line do you see yourself: privacy advocate, or privacy skeptic?

I was most fascinated when panelists started talking about “Privacy as a User Interface Disaster”, because we can’t move forward in any direction until the language of privacy becomes more clear, easy, and empowering to engage with. As we improve our tools and services around privacy communication, hopefully we can increase the chances of outsmarting the hindrance.

Workshop Resources

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