The Shift to Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs)

Published: December 21, 2022

min read

Mounting data privacy concerns have led to the rise of laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which are constantly being updated.

Marketers are now under pressure to balance personalization and privacy. The privacy paradox is for real and has led to the emergence of a new breed of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs). In essence, PETs are a collection of techniques designed to unlock value from data without risking privacy and security.

Meta believes that PETs will support the next generation of digital advertising. This is why it has invested in a multiyear effort with academics, developers, and global organizations to build solutions and best practices.

In Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Privacy 2022 report, it is projected that by 2024, 5 billion citizens amounting to more than 70% of global GDP will be covered by privacy regulation. Besides, it was also revealed that 60% of enterprises would employ one or more PETs by 2025. This exponential increase indicates that data privacy laws will continue to be passed or expanded at a faster rate than they have to this point.

Proactive risk reduction can be achieved through competent data life cycle governance and pseudonymization techniques, such as encryption, masking, and tokenization. However, security is frequently not coordinated across all data silos, and organizations struggle to track data flow across their architectures, resulting in clear-text access to sensitive data in other data stores not secured with encryption


New advances in PET have encouraged marketers to view privacy as not an impediment to their business. But as an opportunity to expand their data collection and collaboration efforts in new directions.

Why Should Marketers Embrace PETs?

The recent developments and research in the field of PETs indicate that PETs are more than just hype. As marketers are looking for ways to balance privacy and marketing utility, it’s clear that embracing PETs is the way forward.

Marketers have to go beyond serving data privacy and cookie policies to practicing privacy-first marketing principles. We expect privacy to become an integral part of marketing and technology. Thus, marketers should consider adopting PET principles such as privacy by design, encryption, machine learning, and on-device computing.

PETs are an asset for businesses dealing with sensitive data. With proper implementation, they allow organizations to drive innovation while remaining compliant. While it sounds promising, there are no guidelines on how and what organizations need to put in place.

Depending on business processes and data workflows, organizations can put together a privacy-enhancing framework. Organizations looking to leverage PETs should explore all the options available to determine the best fit.

Implementing an end-to-end PET framework calls for a strategic approach that encompasses a lifecycle approach from data analysis and classification to testing, evaluation, and execution.

We are undeniably on a cusp of a new era that prioritizes consumer privacy and security. Thus, to ensure we continue moving into a privacy-preserving future, it’s time to embrace PETs now.


Sarah Johnson

Sarah is an analytical marketing expert with a passion for data-driven insights. She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for turning complex information into actionable strategies. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, travel, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.


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