Protection of privacy is being enhanced. What motivates information sharing?

by Harri Koponen, Senior Partner and CEO of Nortal in Finland, April 27, 2018

One of the hottest topics lately in Finland and around the world in general, is the protection of privacy, information publication and its availability for various uses.

The enforcement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation beginning May 25 will produce practical challenges and opportunities and generate public discussion about the justifications of various registers and collected personal data. What information will be public and what will fall under the protection of privacy?

One key question that various enterprises should be discussing now is how we can motivate people to share their information for commercial and public purposes. Along with the challenges, enhanced data protections create a new type of business opportunity for commercial service providers.

Companies can motivate users with special benefits to allow the use and publication of existing customer data, thus providing grounds for new and different customer relationships.

Is sharing still caring, when tax authorities do it without asking permission?

For example, media outlets will surely offer special compensation to their customers for the use of their customer data, such as for targeted advertising.

These benefits can be used to bring in new customers and to improve the overall user experience and the effectiveness of advertising. In the end, everyone wins. There are endless similar motivation opportunities and we will be seeing a lot of them.

Numerous opportunities also exist for using civic information in public administration. Finnish curiosity and jealousy are fed with the annually published tax calendar, which is allowed by legislation covering public disclosure and confidentiality of tax information. Regardless whether the content of a work contract is always fully confidential, income information is fair game as long as a third party keeps publishing this data.

The way in which media outlets publish tax information is bound to change, as questions about the protection of privacy and motives must be answered: Who has the right to restrict a person’s desire for anonymity? However, there are always exceptions. For example, income information for top managers in publicly traded companies and public administration is justifiably public because it provides transparency.

Another example has been floated to illustrate public disclosure of some indication of how wealthy a person is: The name boards in apartment block stairwells could be considered a type of public register of persons and should not be used. Yet municipalities and cities could certainly identify valid motivators for conserving name boards.

A primary goal for the enhanced protection of privacy is providing transparency and information availability while also ensuring a person’s right to privacy. The disclosure of information and availability must benefit all parties.

Interested in topics related to GDPR? Read how Nortal helped Telia Eesti on their journey to GDPR compliance.

Avoiding breaches in public registries is now more important than ever. There are ways to avoid sensitive information getting online where everyone can see it. Read how we helped municipalities in Estonia tackle breaches in public registries.

The article was originally published in Finnish in Kaleva.


Harri Koponen

Harri Koponen

Senior Partner and CEO of Nortal in Finland

Harri Koponen, senior partner and head of Nortal's Finland operations, has a versatile background. He's been with Rovio Entertainment (the company behind Angry Birds) and Finnish Army, but also with Royal Dutch Shell and different telecoms. Experienced in international sales and marketing, he has managed...

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