Crystal Ball Experts: 6 Privacy Day Predictions for 2019

In honor of Data Privacy Day and with so much at stake this year, Data Catalyst asked a wide range of experts to share a policy trend that they are tracking and predictions for the data privacy landscape.

Subhashish Bhadra

Principal, Investments
Omidyar Network


We are tracking the proliferation of data protection laws in national and sub-national entities globally. In particular, we are tracking the draft data protection bill in India and discussions across the African continent. We are also curious to see whether these regulations converge towards a similar set of principles, or whether there are significant regional nuances to necessitate a bespoke approach.


In 2018, we saw a substantial growth in the number of privacy-enhancing start-ups. Companies like our investees and Learning Machine enable individuals to exercise greater control over their data. In 2019, we expect the pioneers to break new ground, and therefore catalyse more investments into the sector.

John Bliss

General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer


I’m tracking the possibility of further regulation of AI, either in the form of new privacy regulations, clarifications to existing AI regulation in the GDPR, or new stand-alone AI regulation, spurred on, for example, by the OECD and the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence.


There will be increased attention drawn to the tension between privacy regulations requiring a “right of explanation” for the use of AI that produces legal effects affecting the data subject’s fundamental rights and freedoms, and the inherent technical limitations of certain “black box” AI technology (e.g., neural networks) to satisfy that obligation.

Jason Boxt

Executive Vice President
PSB Research


It is incredibly interesting to watch stakeholders try to get ahead of the CCPA with potential federal legislation. While several potential bills to address privacy exist, it is unclear what a final bill would look like (further complicated by the govt shutdown). More entities (trade associations, large companies, state governments, etc) will try to get ahead of CCPA, but there will be more movement before Jan ’20. And the focus will be on individual rights (a la GDPR). This is and will be very interesting to watch. 

The other trend I am looking at is the move to get people – employees – more comfortable with data, in any form. The Data Literacy Project has that as a goal, and watching what they do this year will provide another interesting perspective in 2019.


I believe we will see a federal data privacy bill ahead of the implementation of CCPA.


Shelli Gimelstein

Law Clerk, Intellectual Property Litigation / 2018 Stanford Law School Graduate


I’m keeping an eye on how companies will react to the rise of data localization policies around the world. Russia has launched administrative proceedings against Facebook and Twitter and has already blocked LinkedIn and Telegram for failure to store customer data on servers in the country. Other companies offering end-to-end encrypted communications services could be blocked as well, putting internet users’ privacy at risk. Companies may start rethinking how they do business in countries with data localization laws in order to avoid the high costs of compliance and protect their users from government surveillance.


I think there will be friction between the US and the EU regarding the extraterritorial reach of the CLOUD Act and the E-Evidence Directive, if passed by the European Parliament. Since the US and EU are unlikely to enter into an executive agreement any time soon, I expect there will be ongoing litigation over CLOUD Act data requests that conflict with the GDPR, creating a very uncertain situation for providers served with requests from either government.

Liad Wagman

Associate Professor of Economics Illinois Institute of Technology


An increase in momentum among legislative bodies, at the state and federal levels, both domestic and foreign, to craft privacy legislation and seek input from stakeholders.


I predict some degree of much-needed clarity with respect to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, as complaints and lawsuits under the regulation filter their way through the authorities and courts. 


Jake Ward

President Connected Commerce Council


The rise of platforms, marketplaces, and tools aimed at powering small businesses and mid-sized enterprises will continue to drive startups, small business growth and the U.S. economy.


The spread of “data / privacy frameworks” will take a much needed breath in key markets / countries. Effective data policy under the best of circumstances is complex and difficult, when interjected with urgency and introduced into the legislative process, good policy is like aiming at a moving target in a dark room with a crooked arrow. Cooler heads will prevail and allow governments, industry, and consumers to catch up.