Have you heard about “privacy tech?” You probably haven’t, but you will because the way we manage data privacy and develop systems to respect the rights of people is rapidly changing. Privacy tech is technology that helps protect the privacy of users—a critical tool as businesses scramble to become compliant with new privacy guidelines and regulations.
Any business with an online presence must anticipate the cascading effects of data privacy regulations to prepare for what’s next. For now, to adapt to the changes, there are some things you have to do, should do, and could do to prepare for what’s next.
Our assumptions need to change
In recent years, data privacy laws have been enacted to regulate how information is collected, how data subjects are informed, and what control a data subject has over his information once it is transferred. These laws gave way to a series of requirements for managing individual-level preferences and consent. For instance, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Article 7 outlines conditions for consent. “Where processing is based on consent, the controller shall be able to demonstrate that the data subject has consented to processing of his or her personal data.” 
These laws protect us from potential abuses. It’s the easiest fix (aside from not collecting data in the first place), but it may not be the most thorough.
There is debate about whether or not informed consent is really possible, given so few of us would understand an “End User License Agreement” if we stopped to read one. Even if we did, is it fair to say that so long as a company asks for your permission, they can do whatever they want? Thus far, no one truly understands how consent management is going to evolve. Businesses haven’t had to worry about it because it was never a requirement—until now. And it’s forcing many to rethink what they know and want to know about customers.
After 20 years of trying to go from unknown to known, today the goal of the privacy movement is to figure out how to make the customer “unknowable” before you earn the right to their data. Many haven’t yet figured out how to do this.