A widespread, headline-grabbing problem often is an opportunity for savvy businesses. Case in point: personal data. Consumers are increasingly concerned that companies are amassing enormous amounts of information about their activities—online and off—and using that data in unethical ways.

Politicians worldwide are increasingly leveraging that concern to get or stay elected by backing laws that limit how companies can use personal data. Now it’s time for businesses to do more on their own—not just to head off additional, potentially heavy-handed regulations, but more so as a powerful new market differentiator.

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