France's data protection authority CNIL issued an announcement in January 2019 imposing a fine equivalent to NT$1.76 billion on Google for violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforced by the EU. Besides traditional information risks facing individual industries, the ordinary people must also be aware of the data safety listed below and associated with innovative industry chains in the emerging digital economy era, namely web services, social networking and encrypted tokens.
Based on the traffic monetization business model seen in popular web services, many innovation startups have launched a variety of web content for access by netizens and attract them to stay, so that they can utilize personal data of consumers and multiple data accumulated from diverse online behavior to make profits from conducting ads push notification in cooperation with other firms. In the web service access process, the lack of transparency in handling personal data and notification of content that is either too simple or too complicated will lead to major legal disputes and huge potential damages.
In various future digital scenarios, the mainstream applications will be ones that allow consumers to do shopping, conduct financial wealth management, enjoy entertainment and arrange transportation through social network platforms. It is expected that both the reliance of global netizens on social network platforms and the boost to peripheral digital applications will intensify. Of course, various digital footprints resulting from such a lifestyle will incur high economic values, which will surely be highly coveted by cyber hackers and should be strongly protected.
In line with various forms of digital tokenization trend, startups have recently been keen to engage in related R&D projects. As long as they are in the electronic form, any type of token, whether payment token, function token or securities token, will be exposed to the risk of cyber attacks in the issuance, exchange and storage processes of the token ecosystem. Amid drastic price falls for virtual currencies, the number of cyber attacks through the planting of malware will decline sharply. Nevertheless, extortions using asymmetric encryption algorithms to hijack or affect digital token operations are expected to increase steeply.
The Internet era where data was valued more than privacy has gone, and various countries in the world will now establish new global digital economy norms based on diverse data processing, information security and privacy protection regulations. Google still received a huge fine from CNIL ticket though it did not leak any piece of personal data. This clearly motivates startups eager to develop emerging technologies to give more efforts to protect the consumers' rights to know how their personal data is utilized in the future development of digital technologies, in addition to handling basic data security issues such as firewall and encryption algorithms. This is the true lesson to be learnt from the Google fine.
(Jason Hsieh is executive vice president and leader of Cryptoassets and Token Economy Taskforce of KPMG in Taiwan)
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