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Data protection is a rapidly-changing field, with individuals and businesses turning to new methods of information security | Photo source Pixabay

7 innovative ideas for protecting data privacy

Computing & Tech

Technological innovations that increase data privacy, both online and in stores

Following the increase in data breaches, including the recent hack targeting financial services firm Capital One, privacy concerns continue to rise. Information protection is a rapidly-changing field, with individuals and businesses turning to new methods of data security. 

However, many of the proposed solutions require complicated software. Thankfully, at Springwise, we continue to spot innovations aimed at making data protection simpler and more accessible. From end-to-end encryption, password protection, and shielding identity, here are seven of our favourite data privacy ‘“hacks” we’ve seen in recent months.  

1. Smart hardware system encrypts all online home devices

Photo source Winston Privacy

Created by an ad-tech industry veteran, Winston is an easy-to-install, smart hardware encryption system that protects users’ online privacy. Once running, the hardware filter protects every connected device in the home.

The system works with all websites, devices and streaming services, including Amazon’s Alexa, webcams, smart TVs and Wi-Fi routers. Winston works by scrambling and encrypting a users internet activity and location with that of 20 to 30 other Winston users. The groups change hourly, making it impossible to track and follow any individual. 

2. Bank card features CVV that changes every hour

Photo source Pixabay

Earlier this year, PNC Bank piloted a new card whose CVV changed every 30 to 60 minutes. The technology that powers the dynamic CVV is called motion code, and it was originally developed in 2016 by tech company Idemia. The new cards have a small screen, powered by a lithium battery, which displays a three-digit number in e-ink. An algorithm determines when to change the code on display. 

3. One app for managing all privacy data

Jumbo can change your Facebook privacy settings with one tap and create backups, as well as delete old tweets, Google searches and Alexa voice queries. Another feature will let users access old data that is encrypted and securely stored on their iCloud or Dropbox accounts.

The name Jumbo was chosen by the apps’ designers as a reminder that big tech never forgets anything you have ever posted or searched for. In contrast, Jumbo is an elephant that never remembers. All of Jumbo’s processing takes place on the users’ phone — the app does not communicate with a server. This means that Jumbo doesn’t even know who is using the app.

4. Software replaces passwords with cryptographic keys

Photo source Shutterstock

The main source of most data breaches is not malware, but human error. According to information security company ShredIt, 47 percent of business leaders surveyed said human error by an employee had caused a data breach at their organisation. As many as one-third of these errors involved a compromised password.

Woven was founded to reduce the risk of enterprise security breaches by eliminating the vulnerabilities associated with today’s digital credentials. Woven does this by replacing passwords with cryptographic keys and multiple layers of biometrics and verifiable digital credentials. These credentials are attached to individuals, not companies, so can be taken from one employer to the next.

5. Using customers’ fingerprints to approve bank card purchases

Photo source Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

NatWest piloted a bank card that uses fingerprints instead of PIN numbers. In this system, users need to register their fingerprints at a physical branch of the bank. The plan is to eventually let people register their prints remotely.

The fingerprints themselves would be stored on the card, not at the bank, according to Gemalto, the digital security company that designed the cards. The bankcards will also still work with a PIN or as a contactless “tap and go” card.

6. An encrypted messaging platform that shields users’ identity

app user identity sealed sender messaging
Photo source rawpixel on Unsplash

Signal is a messaging app that offers users end-to-end encryption, protecting the privacy of its users. The latest feature that the company is testing is “Sealed Sender,” which aims to offer users further security by encrypting the information about which users on the platform are messaging each other.

For a messaging app to work, the app company needs to know which account to deliver a user’s messages to. This is also important for verifying users. Signal’s new feature encrypts user identity and stops Signal from accessing data regarding the sender and recipient of a message. 

7. A decentralised, open-source search engine with enhanced privacy

Photo source Presearch

Presearch is developing a decentralised, open-source search engine with enhanced privacy features. Built on blockchain, it also pays users in cryptocurrency. It is hoping to break up Google’s dominance over internet search.

Advertisers can buy keyword sponsorships with the crypto, but the company says it does not track user searches, which means no ads are targeted to users based on search history.