Data breaches and online privacy infractions have become a major problem in this data-driven society, prompting BlackBerry's executive chairman and Chief Executive Officer, John Chen, to address the matter point-blank, encouraging companies to step up their game in securing consumer data. At BlackBerry, Chen says the company treats security and privacy "not only a priority but a core element and value proposition." That being said, the chief executive emphasizes its mission is to protect consumer data, and not to exploit it.
In a company blog post, Chen lobbies for every person's data to be dealt with absolute ownership and further says data protection and security should be paramount, as privacy should be etched by design in the creation of products and services. Chen makes particular mention of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will finally be enforced on Friday under the European Union law, as an exemplary measure considering it would allow individuals to easily withdraw their consent from companies to use their data. In fact, he has high hopes that the GDPR will become the new standard as it is expected to benefit everyone, not just users in EU countries. He is urging companies to stick to strong data protection principles and by conforming to regulatory enforcement mechanisms. Likewise, it is also calling for national governments to strengthen its regulations over data privacy. For BlackBerry's chairman, there's no perfect time other than now, to hash out the details of the problem at hand between policymakers and the technology sector in order "to protect privacy and to spur innovation and competition." Chen ends his call with a vow to continue treating privacy "a core value" of BlackBerry. Now, the ball is in the court of other companies.
Although data breaches take place year after year, internet users and industry regulators have been most critical of social network Facebook after it was dragged into the Cambridge Analytica scandal for compromising up to 87 million user accounts. It has taken a toll on everyone concerned and it was this time that the gravity of data breaches have shed light on consumers, governments, and regulators.