When PR is about keeping things PRIVATE

At BizCom, much of our job for clients on a national and international scale is about getting their messages out the masses. But last week we had the rare and exciting opportunity to focus on the growing importance of keeping things private. More specifically, our client Solera played a very large role in participating in Data Privacy Day. And the audience that needs to know about data privacy is…

Everyone!

Data Privacy Day has grown into an annual event that is sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education awareness.

How big is the problem? As of October 2016, there were 809 data breaches in the United States and more than 30 million records exposed. The majority of data breaches are caused by weak or stolen credentials, some form of hacking or malware. Cybercrime costs the average U.S. firm $15.4 million a year. And when it comes to American households, only 30 percent have rules limiting the kind of personal information their kids can share on social networks. And then there’s the open road where our rapidly evolving vehicles are making some of the biggest headlines yet.

BizComPR client Tony Aquila, CEO of Solera, at Twitter headquarters.

Solera CEO and BizComPR client Tony Aquila at Twitter headquarters.

This year, Solera’s Founder, Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila was a speaker at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco for the occasion. The timing could not have been better, as Solera had also just announced the full acquisition of Digidentity – a company that specializes in data privacy. And, in particular, bringing that expertise to the growing worldwide conversation of data privacy in a world of connected cars is a huge concern.

Are you safeguarding your data?

That’s the question the San Jose Mercury News asked while covering the event. And ironically, in a room full of the nation’s best technology reporters, Tony shared information that was very eye-opening for most of the media. Because, as consumers trade in and trade up their smart phones and laptops, they might know to wipe their devices clean. But in a world of smart cars…even the best reporters admitted they did not know how to do it. Sure, they might delete their contacts from the bluetooth. But cars today have an incredible amount of intelligence and personal data that you wouldn’t want the next owner to have.

And that information is only going to grow along with the threats it can pose to consumers. As Tony shared, every car manufactured by 2020 will have an IP address, which also makes them very hackable.

“The car is still in the infotainment phase. Technology is being used to entertain you, to stimulate you,” Tony said. “But in reality, there is a whole bunch of information in there about you, where you go, where you’ve been, how you drive.” And then, there’s the ultimate question:

Can someone take control of your vehicle without your permission?

Yes!

As Tony shared, car hacking is already a reality, and acts of micro-terrorism are real threats we need to be aware of now and well into the future. But the evolution of autonomous vehicles is not a bad thing. It’s the consumer’s ability to know and control his or her identity and data privacy that must follow.

“You need to control the content in your car,” Tony advised. And Solera’s latest technology, called the Digital Garage, is on the leading edge of where things are headed. The app acts as a vault, protecting the user and verifying when that user approves to share information with someone else. In essence, it puts you back in the drivers seat.

Drivers, be aware. CLICK HERE to view the video from Twitter HQ with further insights from Tony.