It’s the  middle of January and my thoughts revolve around Data Privacy Day. Even though Data Privacy Day is observed every January 28th, not a lot of people know about it so I’ve decided to become a stronger advocate and shed light on the issues that Data Privacy Day stands for.

What is Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day commemorates the signing of Convention 108 back in 1981, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

The Data Privacy Day campaign is spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and I laud their efforts to create awareness at the individual and organizational level about the importance of good privacy management and the benefits of managing personal data with care and respect for the owners of such data.

Kirke Management Consulting as a champion of Data Privacy Day

This is something that at Kirke we take seriously and we are committed to. We have officially become a Data Privacy Champion along with other organizations around the globe to support the efforts of the NCSA to bring awareness and a culture of privacy management to businesses and the public in general.

Our ultimate vision is to ensure that businesses and their customers form a strong bond of trust where the lives of said customers are enhanced thanks to the efforts of organizations to get to know them better.  This will allow businesses to offer products and services that have a positive impact on customers’ lives.

Privacy and loyalty go hand-in-hand

How great would it be to be loyal to a business that takes care of you, ensures that you have what you need when you need it, takes the time to understand your desires and speaks to you in a way that is relevant? Oh and also, ensures that no one else knows those details about you because, well, it’s just between you and them. They take the outmost care to safeguard your data so that no one else is privy to it and give it back to you when you want or when it is no longer needed. That to me is bliss!

There are some businesses nowadays that do exactly that, but in my view, there are still not enough.

Awareness, advocacy, regulations, they all play a big part in ensuring we live in a personal data safe world. But us, as individuals, have to assume our part of the responsibility and not be passive participants in a relationship that impacts us the most. We are the recipients of products and services that make a difference to us, therefore, if in exchange of this benefit we need to give up our personal data, let’s hold ourselves and businesses accountable to keep it safe.

Taking charge of your personal data

This is not that difficult to do. These are some examples of what, as individuals, we can do to ensure our personal data is safe and useful all at the same time.

  1. Question the amount of personal data businesses ask of you. Whenever you are completing a transaction with a business, be it online or at the mall, find out why they need your personal information. There are some items where it is self-evident why they are required (like your credit card number if you are using it to pay). But what about your phone number? Or you email address? When you go to the check-out cashier and they ask for your email do you question why? Of course it is to send you promotions and more information but do you want that in the first place? Remember, the more personal data you volunteer, the higher the risk that it will fall in the wrong hands. So do yourself a favour and provide just what is really necessary to obtain what you want.
  2. Advocate and complain if necessary. There are institutions like the Office of the Privacy Commissioner or the CRTC that you can contact and provide feedback or complaints about specific businesses. Do they send you emails constantly and no matter how many times you opt out they keep sending you stuff? Well, there is legislation for that and businesses are not allowed to do it. CASL, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, is here to ensure that your inbox is not overflowing with irrelevant emails from companies that you don’t care about. The CRTC is responsible for following up on these complaints and believe me, they take this very seriously so take advantage of the avenues available to defend your rights.
  3. Be privacy aware. In particular, teach your children about online safety and not to volunteer more information than is required. Kids by nature are trusting but there is always someone out there trying to take advantage of the situation. Have parental controls in place in your computers at home, monitor the sites your family members visit and talk about it openly. Talk about the risks but also the benefits of navigating the digital world in a safe and conscientious way.

Being a champion of good privacy principles – not just on January 28th

Data Privacy Day is a good way to start this campaign of awareness. The digital world is not going away, so let’s take advantage of it in the best and safest possible manner.

Kirke Management Consulting is committed to this and we will strive to partner with businesses and individuals to ensure we live in a privacy safe world. Become a champion yourself!

Happy Data Privacy Day!

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