In our hyperconnected world, the line between public and private keeps fading. We try to protect what we feel is ‘ours’. The picture of Mark Zuckerberg, his laptop camera’s covered with duct tape in the background, illustrates the issue perfectly. How will we define privacy in a new era? And how do we stop consumers from agreeing to share their personal information by blindly clicking ‘I accept’?

We have three main players when it comes down to privacy and personal data – the first being the competitive, innovative industry. They lead a continuous search to find new ways to manage personal data, from music playlists to genome sequencing. Of course, as it happens with everything that’s fast and new, companies have mishandled their data. More than once, this lead to huge data breaches (at Adobe, LinkedIn, Sony, Yahoo and Equifax). These breaches have affected hundreds of millions of people and it is impossible to predict what problems future breaches might present.

A second player in personal data is the consumer, who makes decisions based on user friendliness on the one hand and mistrust of the industry on the other. As consumers, we welcome good quality content when it comes free. Usability usually triumphs having underlying mechanisms explained to us. We do not need to understand it – it just needs to work. This makes it harder to get a grip on how our personal data is being gathered, exchanged and processed. It is even harder to recognize when applications are exploiting our personal data or infringe our privacy rights.

The third and last player in personal data is the government. They need to stand their ground while balancing the pressure of increased supervision on citizens and enforcing stricter privacy rules to prevent abuse and improve the relation between consumer and industry.

Given the perspectives of these three players, we might wonder if there is no better way to handle privacy and personal data. If technology is the biggest cause of the problem, could it also be part of the solution?