COVID-19 sparked an urgency to deploy new technology quickly—from digital contact tracing that requires people to opt in, to collaboration technologies that allow the new remote workforce to collaborate. To help fight the virus, people are inviting more smart devices into their lives, and many are more willing to share health-related data.1 The world moved fast to adopt new technology, but weaknesses were soon revealed. For instance, the Zoom platform skyrocketed from 10 million daily meeting participants in December to 300 million by April, but security issues and privacy risks quickly came to light2 and the company had to address these immediately.
Furthermore, governing bodies during the pandemic have liberalized restrictions and regulations about who owns the data these products create, making it easier to get products to market. But what happens when we go back to tighter controls?
Pre- and post-COVID questions have emerged about who owns the data. And what happens to consumers’ data when companies and products go bust? Consumers are beginning to understand their data may be sold or monetized by another third party. Today, consumers may own the physical piece of technology, but the business administers the digital side—effectively retaining ownership over part of what makes the product valuable. Consumers are becoming more aware of this relationship, so businesses need to do more to demonstrate how their intentions are aligned with consumers.