Engaging Privacy is an initiative for actors in the ICT arena in Sweden seeking to become more proactive in issues regarding privacy and data driven innovation. The initiative is hosted by SICS Swedish ICT and the current members can be found here.
The information society runs on data. Individuals continue to generate ever increasing amounts of data, and our tools for collecting and analyzing the data become better and more effective every day. It is at the very foundation for the digital economy. In this world, issues of privacy are often viewed as inhibitory, as a wet blanket over the fires of innovation. The starting point seems to be that a service or technology can’t be effective or exciting if privacy is respected in collection and analysis of data. Some actors seem to believe that if information is accessible, it should and shall be used.
If you believe that privacy is a binary relationship, something you either have or don’t have, it is easy to be misled by such thoughts. Either you don’t give out any information, or you have no privacy. However, the concept is a lot more complex and holds more multi-faceted view than such a binary world. It is about what form of agency a person has in different context, and to what extent that person can control or amend the image of themselves in the eyes of others. You choose to share certain information about yourself in certain context, and other information in other context.
With that starting point privacy becomes a concept of possibilities. It creates space to freely and consciously share data in order to get better services, deals, or simply because you want to.
We believe that with that view on privacy, actors in the ICT industry in Sweden can carve out a competitive advantage that promotes the trust of consumers. We believe that solutions can be found to equal parts in technical applications and in external and internal communication about how information is collected and treated. And we believe that major industry actors have a possibility to help start-ups and SME’s in order to create an industry environment where privacy is no longer a wet blanket, but an enticing opportunity.