There’s been a lot of talk about privacy lately, whether it’s about how social media is tracking and selling your every move online, or video-conferencing privacy breaches, or regulations such as GDPR or CCPA.  And now, with COVID-19, there are numerous conversations about the balance between effective mitigation through contract tracing and privacy rights (eg: is it ok for the government to know my health status and track me if I’m positive?).

For Companies — Privacy Builds Trust and Trust Builds Value.

Conversations about privacy are healthy and important.  And as a business, those conversations should be starting early in your strategic planning.  If you do it right, you can build brand value.  If you do wrong, or only do it when pressed by your clients or the press, you have an uphill battle. Just ask Zoom.

Privacy by Design creates the framework for building a brand based on respect

The best thing, therefore, is to get ahead of the curve, and institute a concept called Privacy by Design into your systems and operations planning. Privacy by Design is a set of foundational principles originally developed by the former Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, and has subsequently been incorporated into the E.U’.s privacy regulations, GDPR.

Privacy as the Default is key

A full review of the Privacy by Design principles are beyond the scope of this blog; they can be reviewed here. One of the principles I would like to review is the concept of Privacy as the Default.  As the name implies, this principle states that all aspects of the system and operational workflows assume privacy first.  For every piece of personal or sensitive information, we first ask why we need it in the first place.  Is it actually crucial to the client’s use of our product or our ability to serve the client?

If we decide we need the data, we should then seek to limit how much and for how long we need to keep the data.  And we should be transparent with our clients as to why and how their data will be used and disposed of and to whom and under what conditions it may be shared.

Differentiation in a digital age is harder than ever.  Fortunately, you can demonstrate that you respect your clients and improve your brand value by being proactive with regards to privacy.

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