Three Themes from Privacy Identity Innovation 2014

I spent a few days in Palo Alto last week at the Privacy Identity Innovation conference. It was a thought provoking and engaging event–bright, engaging thought leaders representing all kinds of companies from around the world.

Of everything discussed, three key themes really stuck out.

Privacy is About Choice

Privacy isn’t about being anonymous or keeping secrets. It’s about the freedom to choose how your information is exposed:  who can see it, for how long and what they can do with your data.

While there is a growing niche market for services that promise complete anonymity, mainstream consumers simply want to choose what is revealed about them, and to whom.

Privacy is in the eye of the beholder: one privacy size does not fit all. One person’s invasive advertising is another person’s perfectly targeted offer for a discount.

Further, people want to choose based on complete information. Obtuse, buried, and misleading privacy policies will slowly become a thing of the past, and mainstream consumers will increasingly choose transparent services that respect their wishes and enable intelligent, informed choice.

The Future of Privacy is Built In

Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer, Brendon Lynch, said it best when he noted that Microsoft now considers privacy a product feature. This is something consumers want and is driving innovation and product roadmaps.

He wasn’t alone. A huge theme among companies large and small was making privacy features easy, transparent and integrated within products. It’s no longer a separate product or service that you use when you want to have control. In the (near) future privacy is just going to be built in to the tools and services that we use every day.

Of course, this theme hit home for us at Virtru — we’ve spent the last two years building encryption right into your regular email services like GMail and Outlook.

The Internet of (Not-So-Private) Things

Sensors, cameras and connected devices are rapidly becoming ubiquitous. And the drones are coming soon. An increasing number of connected devices have tremendous promise to make our lives more convenient.

Data collection and dissemination is built in to these devices and as consumers and business people, we need to pay attention to how this information is used and by whom.

Each connected device has the ability to tell us a story about us. We need to pay attention to be sure the story is only told to the people we want to hear it.

Virtru at piiI2014 

Among the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to tell the Virtru story and demo our service to dozens of privacy thought leaders and practitioners. We received a ton of useful feedback on the service and positive attention for our mission and our focus on making encryption easy to use. We were honored to be selected by the conference attendees for the Audience Choice Award as part of the Innovation Spotlight.


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