This is a summary of the roundtable discussion held at SICS Swedish ICT on 28 Feburary 2016. Participants were invited to discuss how privacy issues can be used as an opportunity and competitive advantage for the Swedish ICT industry.
In summary, the participants agreed that there is a trust gap between customers and companies when it comes to the collection and processing of personal information, and that the gap limits innovation in the ICT sector. Not addressing that gap might drive people away from products and services, or push governments to regulate industry in such a way that innovation and growth becomes more difficult.
The participants also agreed that the competence for dealing with privacy related questions, in development as well as in customer relations, might not be at a sufficient level in all organizations. There is a lot of room for improvement in making more conscious design choices, and to raise the attention to privacy among engineers and developers in their everyday work activities.
Finally, the participants took inspiration from how Volvo managed to brand themselves as one of the safest car brands, and how the Euro NCAP rating system became one of the most important branding tools for car manufacturers in the safety segment. Being able to prove a high standard of privacy management might sway the entire industry to follow if that proves valuable for consumers as well. As another example, a parallel was made to banks and how they enjoy an extremely high trust rating in Sweden when it comes to privacy – an example that led to a discussion about how regulated markets and trust affect each other, and how that affects innovations.