What is Data Privacy?
Data Privacy or Information privacy is a part of the data protection area that deals with the proper handling of data focusing on compliance with data protection regulations.
Data Privacy is centered around how data should be collected, stored, managed, and shared with any third parties, as well as compliance with the applicable privacy laws (such as California Consumer Privacy Act- CCPA or General Data Protection Regulation GDPR).
Although sometimes used interchangeably, data privacy and data protection are not the same. Data Privacy is a subset of the data protection area, as shown in the image above. Along with data security, data privacy creates a Data Protection area with protected usable data as an output.
However, Data Privacy is not just about the proper handling of data but also about the public expectation of privacy, centering around the individual as a key figure.
This is what you need to know about data privacy:
1. There is no legal definition of Data Privacy
Even though the GDPR was not the first privacy law, it was the most comprehensive and groundbreaking data protection law that reflected the new digital era in the way data is created and managed in modern everyday business processes.
Nevertheless, GDPR nor other data protection laws (like the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), gives a strict definition of what Data Privacy is. So if you are looking for a definition in particular law, there is none.
2. Data Privacy is not the same as Data Security
To properly protect data and comply with data protection laws, you need both Data Privacy and Data Security. Even though these two terms can look similar, their distinctions are clearer once you start to dissect them.
Data Privacy focuses on the rights of individuals, the purpose of data collection and processing, privacy preferences, and the way organizations govern personal data of individuals. It focuses on how to collect, process, share, archive, and delete the data in accordance with the law.
Data Security includes a set of standards and different safeguards and measures that an organization is taking in order to prevent any third party from unauthorized access to digital data, or any intentional or unintentional alteration, deletion, or disclosure of data.
It focuses on the protection of data from malicious attacks and prevents the exploitation of stolen data (data breach or cyber-attack). It includes Access control, Encryption, Network security, etc.
What is more important for your organization?
Imagine that your company introduces elaborate data security methods using all the necessary means and available measures to protect data, but has failed to collect that data on a valid lawful base.
No matter the measures of securing your data, this would be a violation of data privacy. This example shows us that data security can exist without data privacy, but not the other way around.
3. Why is Data Privacy important?
The importance of data privacy can be examined from an individual’s point of view and from a business perspective:
➡ FOR INDIVIDUALS:
Privacy laws around the world aim to give back individuals control over their data, empowering them to know how their data is being used, by whom and why, giving them control over how their personal data is being processed and used.
Organizations that collect personal data are obligated to respond to those questions and manage personal data in a compliant way. According to Gartner’s predictions for the future of privacy, privacy is today what “organic” or “cruelty-free” was in the past decade.
➡ FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE:
Businesses can not operate without processing personal data in some way. However, in order to stay compliant, companies now have to manage personal data in a transparent and compliant way, be accountable for personal data they process, and adhere to privacy principles.
Otherwise, they risk huge regulatory fines, loss of customers’ trust, investor appeal, and data breaches.
However, privacy laws like GDPR, have pushed some companies into their digital transformation giving a competitive advantage to privacy-advanced companies.
From meeting customers’ expectations to achieving competitive advantages in the form of a higher quality of data, improved customer experience, and greater investor appeal and brand.
4. Importance of Transparency
In this age of data economy, true company value lies in the collected personal data. This means data is an asset worthy of protecting and keeping.
What companies keep forgetting is that the personal data of individuals processed by the companies are only borrowed.
Privacy laws enable individuals to exercise their rights, such as the right to be forgotten, and in certain circumstances, individuals can take back ownership of their data.
In order for companies to keep the data and keep the trust, they will have to demonstrate transparency by openly communicating how they process and manage personal data.
5. There are more and more privacy regulations worldwide
GDPR is not the first privacy law, but many data privacy laws before GDPR were outdated, given that both technology and the way we communicate and share our data have changed greatly in just a few years.
General Data Protection Regulation marked the first serious intent to control the excessive exploitation of personal data.
After the GDPR, the US Congress passed similar laws, soon followed by Brazil (LGPD) and China (PIPL). In the years to come, data protection laws will continually evolve and more governments will pass similar initiatives.
Organizations should take this into consideration when creating their business plans, strategies, and marketing activities. Not only because of fines but also because this is what individuals will expect.
How can you achieve your compliance goals faster?
We are exchanging more data than ever, and in ways, we haven’t before. Technology is changing and this requires a more sophisticated approach.
Data privacy software can help you achieve and demonstrate compliance by automating your processes, managing consents, fulfilling data subject rights, managing third parties, and more.