Privacy and Industry 4.0


Encompassing disruptive innovations at the core of its nature since inception, the manufacturing industry has always remained ever evolving and proved to be a promising and sustainable contributor towards the global economy. The industry has evolved in past four centuries from mechanization (I1.0), electrification and mass production (I2.0), electronics and automation (I3.0), to the latest trend of Cyber-physical systems (I4.0). The industrial revolution 4.0 breeds up on the human interaction with machines and the human wisdom. This amalgamation of human intellect with the machines, especially in the cyber-space, has raised privacy concerns as the personally identifiable data is getting processed in high quantum and at micro levels. To leverage the full potential of Industry 4.0, the privacy concerns inevitably need to be dealt with all due care.

What is Industry 4.0?

The industry 4.0, or largely renowned as cyber-mechanics, prima facie, encompass the unification of machines and human beings through the internet connectivity, to leverage

automations and make smart decisions to streamline the manufacturing process and optimize the cost and desired output. This revolution in the manufacturing industry has taken charge intended to increase the overall quality and productivity of the industry. It has become visible since a decade with the power of internet connectivity. As they say, Data is the new Oil, it is apparent that the industry 4.0 based factories consume two oils – One that runs the machines and its quantity diminishes as it is used, the other one being data, which runs the intelligence of the machines and its quantum upsurges dramatically as it is used.

Key Components of Industry 4.0

Some of the key cyber-physical system components include Autonomous Robots, Simulations, Data and Analytics, Augmented Reality, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, to name a few. All the devices in these components have sensors which convert physical signals into digital signals and likewise the actuators which convert digital signals into physical ones. These devices communicate with each other and central systems through SIM card-enabled internet connectivity. There are plenty of market-leading software in the industry which provide platform to program and configure these sensors and actuators as per the manufacturing process, the machinery hardware, and the desired production output.Industry 4.0 can emanate its magical impact.

The Wave of Global Data Privacy Laws and its Impact

Data privacy as a concept had emanated decades ago from human rights, however, in this millennium, the data privacy wave roared in 2016 with the inception of well-revered European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which had become a buzz word in all boardroom meetings in the Union, as well as, outside it. This wave has rippled across the globe covering California, Brazil, Malaysia, India, China, Australia, Switzerland, Nepal and many more. The world is keen on the US Federal Privacy Act. Besides, the UK is adopting a variant of GDPR post-BREXIT.

These laws have proved to be a nightmare for the organizations of every tier considering the penalties that can be levied for non-compliance. GDPR has already set examples in the globe by forcing the Tech giants to shed handsome amount of dollars against the regulatory fines. Beyond the regulatory levies, there are far-reaching impacts on the organizations in terms of reputation and trust loss, customer attrition, compliance consulting cost, positive marketing cost, technology implementation cost and what not.

Industry 4.0 Applications

Let us take a glimpse of some use cases where Industry 4.0 can emanate its magical impact.

Impact on Individuals

The privacy breaches not only impact the organizations, but also pose risks to individuals who have trustfully handed over their personal data. These risks to the Industry 4.0 customers include, but are not limited to, identity theft, unsolicited marketing communications, child abuse, misuse of sensor data, unauthorized access to sensitive information, or child abuse leading to financial and reputational loss and even to loss of life.

Even the employees and operations of the cyber-mechanic firms can face problems like, sensor misconfiguration, impersonation, sensor data leakage, unauthorized access to data without the cognizance and consent of the users.

Data Privacy: An endeavor of risk-based approach Predominantly, data privacy empowers the personal data providers with the cognizance and control of their personal data with the organizations. Likewise, the customer trust which emanate from this customer empowerment, metaphorically, acts as a magnet to more business and reputation in the market. The universe of this domain

revolves around identifying the risks of not abiding by the basic data privacy principles throughout the lifecycle of personal data consumption starting from collection, processing, dissemination, storage, and disposal. The clients, internal business users, technical teams, third party vendors, business partners, all collectively form the environment of this universe. In addition to the basic principles of data privacy which are static in nature, organizations also encounter geography and(or) industry specific laws that will

impact the way personal data is processed.

All the regulatory requirements and industry best practices, in a way, obligate the organizations to undergo a holistic examination of the personal data which is being processed and the policies and practices that govern the processing of this data, followed by identification of risks involved in the privacy lapses and finally managing those risks in the best possible manner with keen focus on the state-of-the-art and cost of the cybersecurity and privacy technology.

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