Mind Your Customer Data: The Need for Data Privacy Engineering


Did you know that your own car might be “spying” on you?

According to a recently released report by The Mozilla Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates for secure online experiences, the apps, sensors, cameras, and other high-tech bells and whistles built into many new cars today collect and share personal data such as where we go, how fast we drive, what radio stations we listen to, the status of our health, and even our genetic makeup.

This enlightening revelation – the result of The Mozilla Foundation’s survey of 25 car manufacturers – underscores the downside of a modern-day society that’s fueled by data but can fall short on data privacy standards and enforcement.

A Very Real Concern for Individuals and Companies Alike

Privacy concerns are by no means a new trend, but they’re growing. The threat that today’s highly-connected infrastructure poses to personal digital privacy is very significant to citizens and businesses around the globe.

According to Surfshark’s User Attitudes Towards Privacy Survey 2022, 90% of the internet users worldwide who were surveyed agreed that online privacy is important to them – in fact, nearly half of the adults across twelve countries who participated in Cisco’s 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey claimed to have terminated relationships with companies over their inadequate digital data privacy policies. 

Similar concerns over the state of data privacy were confirmed by McKinsey Digital in their recently-published McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023. According to the report, the trend of “trust architectures and digital identity” (which focuses on building and maintaining the trust and integrity of those who use an organization’s data and digital-enabled products and services) grew the most out of the fourteen trends they tracked over the past year as the issues of security, privacy, and resilience have taken center stage.

The Need to Close the Skills Gap

New regulations and parameters on data sharing worldwide are requiring greater levels of privacy engineering in the product design process. Examples include Europe’s 2022 “NIS2 Directive” and “2023 Data Governance Act” and recently-strengthened data privacy laws enacted in states throughout the U.S. At the same time, shifting societal attitudes have led consumers and business customers alike to increasingly expect products and services to incorporate appropriate levels of security, technology resilience, and other digital-trust properties as part of their value proposition.

As a result of these developments, global equity investment in the field of trust architectures and digital identity grew to US$47 billion in 2022 – nearly five times its level in 2018. Furthermore, subsequent demand for skilled talent within the field has risen steadily, with job postings growing by over 16% between 2021 and 2022.

While the demand for stronger data privacy features and expertise is on the rise, a deficit of talent in this specialty persists in 2023. This talent gap is especially prevalent in the areas of risk analysis, regulatory compliance, computer security, cryptography, and identity management, where the McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023 revealed that there are only one to four qualified applicants per ten job postings.

Products and services that don’t adequately protect customer data privacy can lead to catastrophic fallouts such as data breaches that can significantly impact an organization’s financials as well as its brand and reputation. The organization could also incur harsh financial penalties for violating data privacy regulations. Given these concerns, product development teams are increasingly acknowledging the need to address security and technology risks earlier in the development and delivery life cycle.

Make Data Privacy Your Business

As privacy grows in importance, the need for technical professionals to possess strong knowledge in the area also grows. Provided in collaboration with IEEE Digital Privacy, Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age aims to provide engineers with a better understanding of digital privacy. This five-course program covers how we operationalize privacy in an organizational context, how we engineer privacy in our systems, how we make privacy usable for end users, and finally how we address the emergent technological challenges to privacy. Interested in enrolling? Visit the IEEE Learning Network.

Looking for More Training?

Your customers demand and expect a safe, private, and secure experience when sharing personal data with your organization. The IEEE | IAPP Data Privacy Engineering Collection can help organizations ensure that every member of their product development team is prepared to meet this need, which is best initiated in the product development stage.

 The IEEE | IAPP Data Privacy Engineering Collection includes:

  • 6 IEEE eLearning Courses, including 3 courses in AI Standards as well as coverage of the important topics of “Responsible Innovation in the Age of AI,” “Ensuring Data Protection and Data Safety,” and “Digital Privacy:  Principles, Regulations, and Ethics”
  • 25 eBooks from the Wiley Data and Security Collection
  • 2 IEEE journals related to secure computing
  • 7 IAPP eLearning Courses covering key principles of privacy in technology, threats and challenges to privacy in technology, privacy engineering, and privacy-by-design methodology

By equipping your staff with the tools offered in the IEEE | IAPP Data Privacy Engineering Collection, you’ll help your team build better, safer, and more trustworthy products and services that earn user trust while complying with applicable privacy regulations.

For more information or to register for any or all of the robust learning opportunities within this comprehensive series of online courses, visit IEEE Xplore Digital Library



Caltrider, Jen, Rykov, Misha, and MacDonald, Zoë.  (6 September 2023).  “It’s Official: Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy.” The Mozilla Foundation.

Howarth, Josh.  (21 February 2023).  “23+ Alarming Data Privacy Statistics For 2023.”  Exploding Topics.

Chui, Michael, Issler, Mena, Roberts, Roger, and Yee, Lareina.  (20 July 2023).  “McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023.”   McKinsey Digital.


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