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Re-establishing trust in the digital age of accelerated innovation

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Is this the golden age of innovation?

It has been said that we now find ourselves in the “Golden Age of Innovation.” While it is undeniably true that we live in a time when the pace of technological change is faster than ever before, from available new digital technologies to the data that fuels them the picture is not always as rosy as some would have it.

Unsurprisingly, the Digital Age of Accelerated Innovation brings with it both opportunities and challenges and nowhere more so than when it comes to data.  On the one hand, data has the potential to solve some of our most pressing societal challenges, from the pandemic to poverty to climate change. But that data can only be effectively leveraged if individuals and organizations trust those bodies that are responsible for handling it, rather than suspect that their privacy and wellbeing might be compromised without their knowledge or consent. This is where the challenges lie.

Where do we stand on trust?

Many organizations, including the World Economic Forum, note that “declining trust, prompted by unease at the way some organizations are using digital technology, could undermine the societal benefits of digitalization.” No one can deny that new innovative technologies have brought a commensurate wave of data breaches, tech industry scandals, a rise in cyberattacks, and a general lack of transparency regarding personal data use.  Whether the facts support it or not, a general sense of wariness accompanies every new request for personal data.

Organizations have a role to play to build and maintain trust in how they handle data.   Indeed, there is a pressing need to establish comprehensive practices for the development, design, and deployment of emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence.  Without measured and responsible guardrails, heedless and irresponsible personal data collection threatens to run rampant. This project starts at home by setting high levels of Privacy and Information Governance. New privacy regimes are surfacing weekly across the globe to safeguard the protection of personal information, which is good news. However, trust is not a simple box-ticking exercise. This requires organizations to instill a culture of privacy and to invest in education and awareness at all levels.   This translates into ethical commitments for a responsible data innovation system that safeguards and enhances privacy principles  – where people know and control what is being done with their data, how it is being used and shared, and how they are benefiting from these activities. Trust is an umbrella that, in data privacy terms, encompasses awareness, transparency, control, and security among others. Ultimately, this allows organizations to turn a heavy compliance obligation into a strategic imperative and business opportunity.

What’s next?

We are still at the start of our journey to re-establish trust in the digital era. Everyone - governments, industry, civil society, and academia – has a role to play in the collective effort needed to bring about real change. Therefore, the World Bank is so pleased to be working alongside Mastercard on a knowledge and thought leadership partnership to strengthen trust across the global digital economy.

Please view the replay of our Fireside Chat with Tami Dokken, Chief Data Privacy Officer, World Bank and Caroline Louveaux, Chief Privacy Officer, Mastercard which took place on June 21, 2022.


Caroline Louveaux

Chief Privacy Officer, Mastercard

Tami Dokken

Chief Data Privacy Officer, World Bank

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