There’s been a lot of outrage lately about privacy breaches from huge tech giants like Facebook, which has led many to begin calling for political regulations on digital privacy rights. And now it looks like these regulations may soon become a reality.
In Great Britain, privacy regulations are already in the works. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect in May. This legislation will drastically impair the abilities of tech companies working in great Britain to collect data on their users.
At a basic level, this seems like a good idea. But, much of what we have come to expect about the internet actually relies on a basic business idea—that people get free resources and services in exchange for data used in highly-targeted ad campaigns. Take that away, and what’s left in the rubble?
Consider this: 96% of SMBs say they use social media in their marketing strategy. In fact, about 90% of marketers say social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic. It seems that social media advertising is crucial to small business success, and all that social media advertising relies on – you guessed it – data. Without the data that enables SMBs to reach their target audiences, social advertising would become largely ineffective. Remove the targeting and you remove the results.
Not only is social media a huge part of an ad-optimized cyberspace, search engines are also integral. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. The relevance of these experiences relies heavily on data as well. At this point, however, only 17% of small businesses are investing in search engine optimization.
Securing data is crucial for the future of the digital world. Especially since nearly 40% of all cybersecurity incidents involve inside individuals, not rogue hackers. This is evidence of serious problems present in modern tech giants. It’s also proof that something needs to be done.
It’s important, though, that lawmakers consider the ramifications that privacy laws will have on small businesses who rely on the data-driven marketing services that Facebook, Google, and others offer. There’s more than just individual privacy at stake.