The Facebook data breach scandal
In the wake of the Facebook scandal, many are debating whether there’s a smarter way for private information on the internet to be protected. Recent reports suggest that as many as 87 million Facebook users may have had their data misused, and pressure is now on to ensure information remains secure.
The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU will go some way towards more effective protection of private information, with organisations potentially incurring large fines for data breaches. But the installation of security measures is expensive and time consuming, and concerns will doubtless arise as to whether the regulations go far enough.
The ICO has launched a public awareness campaign, created to restore users’ trust in the treatment of data, while calls for curtailing the use of personal data are coming from Silicon Valley. It’s rumoured that the US government may produce a watered-down version of GDPR in due course, but in the meantime some states are instigating their own data privacy laws.
Facebook has also announced a spending boost to combat abuse on its platforms, which is expected to include an increase in the size of its safety and security monitoring team.
How could R&D help?
Of course, social media has never been subject to much regulation, so new laws would have a huge impact on it. There would also be a need for security systems that are much more robust than many current ones – which means time invested in research and development of these would be beneficial.
Issues such as finding hidden legacy data and the effective deletion of personal information pose a significant problem to large companies like Facebook. Systems are needed that can identify this data, keep it secure from misuse and properly delete it, and research and development is the key to finding such solutions.
Software development companies thus have a prime opportunity to create programmes that have this functionality. The development of effective processes for keeping data secure could also warrant R&D investment.
Are you eligible?
The UK government is committed to helping businesses of all sizes to innovate, meaning that up to 33p per £1 spend on R&D could be reimbursed for eligible projects. If your company has been investigating ways to ensure the security of data, you could qualify for R&D tax credit for software development. So long as you are seeking an advance in science or technology, which overcomes an uncertainty, your activity could be eligible.
If you believe your project qualifies for tax relief, you can use our R&D calculator to find out how much you could claim for your efforts. Simply answer a few questions about your business and finances to obtain an instant calculation of the claim value. Alternatively, contact us at R&D Tax Solutions on 0161 298 1010 to arrange a consultation.