By Reggie Davis, General Counsel, Chief Privacy Officer 

January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an international effort to create awareness of the importance of respecting data privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. The celebration commemorates the signing of Convention 108 on Jan. 28, 1981, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

Since that date, new technologies like the cloud, social media, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and artificial intelligence have greatly increased the volume of personal data being collected, stored and shared, raising privacy concerns. This year, privacy is at the forefront with the May 25th rollout of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the new EU privacy legislation impacting businesses that hold EU citizen data.

How much do you know about protecting data privacy? Review these key questions to test your privacy knowledge.

  1. What types of information are protected under data privacy laws?

Data privacy includes the control, use and disclosure of Personally Identifiable information (PII). PII includes any data that alone, or in combination with other information, can identify an individual. Examples include name, email, phone number, address, social security number, social or financial account information, or tracking information such as IP address or specific GPS location data. 

  1. What rights do individuals have around data privacy?

Any business that collects personal information is required to publish a clear and accessible privacy notice/policy that states how data will be collected, used, stored, shared, and deleted. The use and disclosure of health information is further protected in the United States by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Further rights are granted for EU citizens under the incoming GDPR legislation.

  1. How can you protect the data privacy of others in the workplace?

Familiarize yourself with your organization’s privacy notices and policies. Businesses should only use PII data belonging to customers, employees, or others for business purposes and have clear privacy notices and policies in place. Personal data should be stored carefully so that it will not be shared unintentionally with unauthorized people and disposed of safely when no longer needed.

  1. What are the risks of data privacy violations?

Trust is the foundation of successful business growth. Recent research shows 69% of CEOs think it is becoming harder for businesses to gain and retain people’s trust. Protecting personal data is critical to maintaining a trusted relationship with customers and employees. Beyond preserving trust, new regulations have placed increasing accountability on senior management to ensure personal data is protected and businesses will be subject to significant fines for violating data protection and privacy regulations.

Celebrate Data Privacy Day by carefully and respectfully guarding the information and data entrusted to you. You can also help protect data privacy by limiting the information you share about others through social media and other online forums. For tips on protecting your personal data check here.