My earliest experience of the need for data privacy was when telemarketing was rampant in mid 2000s. I remember how agitated the experiences used to be whenever I answered a call from an unknown number on my mobile phone.

 I would often respond with the like of “how did you get my contact number?” or “where did you get my contact information from?” or “Please include me in the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) List”. For a while the calls would stop but only to begin again. The painful cycle repeated. Come to think of it, my contact information was shared (may be sold too), by someone, to several product companies for their marketing efforts. This is an example of a privacy violation.

Remember the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal that happened few years ago? In it, several millions (over 25 million) of Facebook users data were, without consent, harvested by Cambrdige Analytica. This incident shed a whole new, much needed light on privacy highlighting several aspects on why it is important.

So what then is data privacy?

Simply put, Data privacy is the right to have control over how your personal information is collected and used with clearly defined practices which ensure that the data shared is only used for its intended purpose.These practices identify how data is collected, stored, used, protected and shared. Furthermore, data protection is the process of securing data and important information from being compromised or corrupted.

Why should we care about data privacy?

Imagine this. What if the data that should be kept private, gets in the wrong hands?Bad things can happen such as a data breach at a government agency can put top secret information in the hands of an enemy state. A breach at a corporation can put registered data in the hands of a competitor which could lead to misuse or gain an unprecedented market advantage causing massive loss to the organization.

As more of our data becomes digitized, and we share more information online, it is no surprise that data privacy is taking on greater importance. A single company may possess the personal information of millions of customers, data that it needs to keep private so that customers’ identities stay as safe and protected as possible, and the company’s reputation remains unblemished. Clive Humbly said it right in 2006. Data is the new oil. Read more....