Privacy. Some may view it as an out dated philosophy – something that is no longer possible in a world of social media and interconnected lives. Something that is sometimes sacrificed in the name of expedience and the drive
for faster communications and turnaround.
On January 28th, also known as Data Privacy Day, however, we are urged to pause, if even just for a moment, to think about privacy and its implications.
Privacy Challenges Amid a Pandemic
In 2020, the notion of privacy was challenged in order to stop a pandemic.
In the past, we resisted inquiring about sick days and cited HIPAA instead, but in 2020 we often found ourselves having our foreheads scanned and our health symptoms discussed nearly every time we left our homes. Teachers were asked to take daily temperatures and transfer that personal health information to the appropriate parties each morning. Contract tracing was also an important topic of conversation, as we tried to keep people safe from COVID-19. All of these steps were taken in order to try and prevent the spread of a deadly disease and to mitigate a global crisis, a crisis that we had not faced before and one that was killing our family and friends.
But, even in these most challenging situations, security controls must be put into place to ensure that the information provided is protected, used only for the purposes intended, and destroyed when no longer needed.
Privacy, once surrendered is very hard to get back. That is why it is so important that we strive to strengthen and assert our right to privacy. Our private data belongs to us. It does not belong to anyone else and others do not have a right to it. We may loan it to them for a time for a mutually beneficial purpose, but there must always be controls and limitations on this contract.
Safeguarding Personal Data
To that end, privacy laws are strengthening throughout the United States and throughout the world. As a result, those that misuse or fail to safeguard personal data are being held accountable, and rightly so.
The increasing number of data breaches reminds us that our information is at risk. Corporations are also quickly learning that there are consequences to their actions. Their reputations are often on the line if they fail to meet the expectations of business clients and partners in regards to safeguarding personal data.
The most important reason to safeguard personal data, however, does not come down to how it affects a bottom line. Rather, it can be broken down to a very simple concept… because it is the right thing to do.
All of us have a role to play in safeguarding personal data, whether it is our own or someone else’s data we encounter at work. It’s necessary for us to always recognize that this data represents an individual. So today, on Data Privacy Day, we want you to take a moment and think about how you are using and protecting this data.