How Are Digital Natives Shaping the Future of Data Privacy?

Written by

When it comes to the implementation of cybersecurity, most individuals usually focus on the bigger picture, which often causes them to foresee details that prove to be crucial in exercising security. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of cybersecurity is data privacy, along with the highly personal implications that it has.

With the much-awaited California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) having come into effect from 1st January 2020, this is already at the receiving end of severe scrutiny from some of the most notable members of California’s tech scene. So it is high time that we reevaluate the relationship that digital natives have with data privacy.

Furthermore, in an attempt to ensure that the cybersecurity practices hold up in the long run, it is equally essential that we also pay heed to the way that the tumultuous relationship that digital natives have had with data privacy influences the present, and consequently, the future of cybersecurity in general.

The simpler (read: oversimplified) definition of what a digital native would be a person who grew up in the era of omnipresent technology, the most notable aspect of which is single-handedly the internet and the advent of the internet of things (IoT). A far more sophisticated, and more accommodating definition of the phrase, however, takes into account the intricate nature of the differences between digital natives and the generations that came before them.

Once the variations that have entered the lives of digital natives - primarily as a direct consequence of growing up in a world riding the high wave of digitization and advancements in technology - have been fully realized, only then can cybersecurity specialists hope to steer digital natives towards a more secure future.

The Rocky Relationship that We Have Had With Data Privacy in the Past

The term “digital natives' was coined in 2001 by Marc Prensky, where he argued that the younger generation spoke a digital language, and called for a fundamental change in the way that they were being taught in schools as well.

However, digital natives, along with the generations that came before them, have been making grave privacy mistakes for a long, long time. The monumentality of the mistakes made in the past is also made evident by the fact that their impact can be felt, even today.

With that being said, most of the mistakes made in the past can be pinned down to the sheer lack of knowledge that people had about the internet and emerging technology: all of which they considered to be “something foreign” back then.

Some of the most notable errors made in the past regarding a user’s data privacy, which frequently lead to sensitive credentials being stolen, started with the U.S government using identifiers in their new social security program. The trouble with these identifiers started when multiple states across the country began putting social security numbers on state-issued driver’s licenses, which left identity thieves with the golden opportunity to wreak as much havoc as they wanted. Fortunately, however, the practice of was eradicated in 2005.

However, the practice of using the Social Security Number was still being used as an identifier for each recipient of the Medicare program, which started in the 1960s. Unlike the use of identifiers in driving licenses, the practice of using easily exploitable identifiers didn’t end until 2017.

Moreover, another perilous error that was pretty widespread in the past, before most of the digital natives were even born, was the practice of jotting down sensitive and confidential information, such as driving license numbers, addresses, and phone numbers on checks. The reason behind this blunder was simple: in the 1990s, the use of credit cards wasn’t as widespread as it is today, and no one had the patience to wait in queues.

How are Digital Natives Impacting the Future of Data Privacy?

Although the state of cybersecurity being implemented in organizations today is far from perfect, organizations and enterprises, have started to take the imminent threat posed by the different types of cybercrimes in the past, which has also significantly impacted the attitudes that individuals have had about maintaining data privacy in general.

Unlike older generations, who treated the concept of technology as something foreign and unnatural to their way of living, digital natives have chosen to embrace technology as a permanent constituent of their way of life. Moreover, digital natives are so well acquainted with the advent of technology, the acknowledgment and acceptance of cybercrimes come naturally, along with more active involvement in solving problems, so that better data privacy can be exercised.

With acute knowledge about the consequences of data sharing and the impact that a stolen credential can have, digital natives have brought forth a revolutionary change within the cybersecurity spectrum by focusing their attention on the formulation of a robust cybersecurity culture that sees an equal distribution of assets and labor to each aspect of a security infrastructure.

Amidst the backdrop of an ever-evolving and increasingly sophisticated threat landscape, it won’t be the greatest stretch to say that the future stability of cybersecurity rests on the shoulders of digital natives!

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?