Privacy, and particularly GDPR, appear to be "hot" search terms on Google at the moment. Some would argue it is a little too little, too late. GDPR is now only days away and it has not suddenly been sprung on people...it has been in the making for years.
But the growing upwards trend of more general privacy terms is a reflection on how the topic is becoming more relevant to people. This is a lesson that businesses need to take on board and build on as they develop new solutions and products. Privacy by design, a key concept within GDPR, may also be a key future requirement for customers/clients - all the more reason to not be complacent.
Most businesses have a good understanding of the requirements of GDPR, and are putting measures in place to ensure that they use data in a permitted way. However, they must remember that GDPR is a living regulation and compliance is ongoing – it needs to be maintained and reassessed as systems evolve; it is not a simple tick-box exercise.
And let's not forget that the real test will be when a business has to deal with a data breach, a complaint or a subject access request. Then they will have to turn their planning and knowledge into real action.
The share of people around the world asking Google about faulty passwords, email spam and computer viruses has plummeted since 2004, when the first data are available. For instance, searches for “privacy”, or the equivalent in other languages, have declined by about 50%. Google shows a brief spike in interest about data breaches in September 2017, when Equifax, a credit-reporting agency, admitted that hackers had stolen the personal information of about 143m people. Yet that failed to set off even a flicker in searches about privacy. That has changed in the past two months: queries about the topic have climbed to their highest level since 2006. One cause might be rising interest in GDPR. But searches about privacy stayed flat even though web traffic about the EU’s new regulations grew between June 2017 and March 2018.