It’s Data Privacy Day! Or how it was earlier created, communicated, and celebrated as – Data Protection Day. Let’s stick with the latter in honour of the origin, shall we? 🙂
It was created by the Council of Europe back in 2006 to commemorate the signing of the treaty “Convention 108” in 1981, that focused on protecting personal data. It was then recognised and adopted by several nations and became an international celebration. Data Protection Day continues to aim to raise awareness for companies and users about collecting, storing, processing of personal data.
In the larger sense, privacy is part of everything we do today: browsing online, sharing anything, just being on the wifi, social media, passwords, our Siris and our Alexas, and so on and so forth. Gone are the days when the conversation about privacy seemed irrelevant and insignificant – ridiculous even. Today, documentaries like “The Great Hack” and “The Social Dilemma” exploring the underbelly of subjects like social networking and the degree to which we’re affected, force us to take privacy seriously.
Robert W. Proctor, a professor at Purdue University’s Department of Psychological Sciences, puts it well:
“People who say they’re concerned with security will do a lot of very insecure things.”
The entire point of observing days like Data Protection Day is to encourage dialogue, spread awareness, and inspire action on securely understanding and managing our digital presence. But how many of us are sincerely doing that? And if so, is it just on this one day?
So we thought of passing the baton to one of the experts – our CTO, Sascha Martens – to share his knowledge and answer some of your most asked questions.
The internet has made our lives so much easier but managing our personal data has become more complex than ever. Or have we just become lazy to protect it better?
Sascha: No, I don’t necessarily think that we became lazy. But for sure our digital life and its assets became more complex, important, and present at all. The ability to protect this part of our life simply did not increase with the same speed and importance – maybe because of the complexity of security itself.
What challenges has the pandemic brought – or brought to light – with regards to data collection and compliance? A year ago, no one was talking about such things.
Sascha: Before the impact of this new reality there was a great gap between those positions: new work associates that wanted to be citizens of the world and work where and whenever they wanted to… and on the other hand everyone else, just thinking it never will be reality to work 100% remote and that it could be (and must be) safe.
Do you think people have become more aware of what happens to their personal data since the pandemic? Or are we more misinformed?
Sascha: I think the pandemic spotlighted the danger coming from cyberattacks for everyone. This led us in the right direction and the more people started to think about their data, their companies’ data, and about those threads, the more it will be something people are talking about… that would be a great opportunity to bring cybersecurity to the next level.
If we were to begin fresh – how can we start with securing our online presence?
Sascha: That’s not something new: Updates. Keeping everything up to date – but really everything: TVs, speakers, and if already smart also our fridges… And of course, passwords!! No joke: literally every attack utilizes passwords at some point!
Do data breaches really affect me at all? Aren’t they just stats?
Sascha: Nope. For sure not. Maybe a few years ago that seems to be something theoretical possible and not too dangerous… but every data point available is used today – to modify opinions, to place products, and of course to open the door to more data.
How can I get my company, or at least my team, to take data protection more seriously! Is there some list to check off?
Sascha: Yeah, there are a bunch of easy quick wins most teams can make… one of them I really love: try to reduce shadow IT (tools and devices not controlled by your IT department) to zero! Yes, that means for sure a little bit more effort for some things and the secure way maybe is a little less comfy… BUT this way IT can understand your needs and it is so much effective in terms of becoming more secure!!