Does Data Privacy Even Exist?

Written by Di Princell

May 4, 2021

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
~ Voltaire

As a typical consumer of goods/services, I wonder if my personal data is genuinely protected from the daily occurring breaches. As an owner of an AI-based, data analytics provider, I know that RIBBIT.ai’s number one priority, at all costs, is protecting our clients and their customers personal information. However, the data breach is every business’s worst nightmare, and if a representative tells you its security is 100% fail safe, turn around, run fast, and locate an honest company.

As citizens, we are entitled to our privacy, even as the data storm swirls around us with companies, collecting, using, and sharing our data. The March Green Sheet unnerves – Statistica claimed that:

“1500 data breaches resulting in the exposure of 164.7 million sensitive records occurred in 2019. Each year according to the Ponemon Institute, as hackers get more prolific, those numbers dramatically increase costing businesses an average $150 for each compromised record.”

What’s even more unnerving, is that customers point the accusing finger at the service provider, not the sleezy hackers.

Legislators in every state have enacted data privacy policies and regulations, some states more stringent than others, but according to Ross Federgreen, president of CSR Privacy solutions, “the focus is on the collection, management, and destruction of personal information, like names, Social Security numbers, credit and debit cards, and bank accounts.” There is a difference between data privacy vs. data protection, the former refers to whom has access to data, while the latter controls access to data through policies, regulations, and tools.

Speaking of tools, there are a lot of methods companies use to restrict access to private consumer or business data such as: encrypting, daily backups, automated software updates, cloud storage, and anti-malware protection. By now, after experiencing breaches in the highest level of government, there is no fail-safe data protection methodology. The bigger question is do you trust the company that is storing your data? Are they following government and state regulations for compliance? Are they doing everything possible to maintain protection standards at the highest level and do you know what they do with your data? These are issues that should be clearly resolved in the contract agreement at the beginning of a business relationship.

If a data breach arises, what is the protocol after the fact? How and when will you and your customers be contacted and how does compensation happen? Customers want transparency so understanding all the complexities of the breach and how it is communicated and resolved also needs to be at the forefront before signing business agreements. According to Identity Theft Resource Center, our country’s experience with enormous breaches in big retailers can severely erode trust:

  • Target 2013 (140M customers impacted)
  • TJX 2007 (94M customers)
  • Home Depot 2014 (94M customers)

Data stolen includes payment cards, customer return records, customer emails, driver licenses, social security numbers. Today’s hacker are exponentially more knowledgeable and sophisticated than in the aforementioned breaches which only adds fuel to the fire.

Ian Pacey, RIBBIT.ai’s Chief Technology Officer, says protecting consumer information is a top priority for RIBBIT.ai. We have deployed several security measures from the time the consumer enters their personal information to the storage of their information at our data centers. Our BankONBOARD widget assists clients that do not wish to deal with the security and complexities of passing and storing the PII and account information in their systems. When a consumer launches our BankONBOARD widget from our client’s website, it will provide a secure connection between the consumer and RIBBIT.ai. All account information is encrypted, and a token is provided back to the merchant to use with our BankVERIFY+, BankLOGIN+ and BankTRANSACT services.

Stay tuned . . .

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