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Data Privacy Principles

The principles of data privacy, including data minimization, purpose limitation, transparency, and retention, are fundamental to protecting consumer information and fostering trust.
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6 min read
Published
March 28, 2022
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When it comes to the world of data privacy, there are certain basic principles to which all data holders should adhere. These principles of data privacy ensure that consumers and businesses can do business with each other without concern that bad actors will compromise their sensitive personal information. 

In a sense, data privacy principles are about so much more than data: we’re talking about the ethics and morals of the business in question. By acting in the best interests of your customer's data, you are protecting their privacy and demonstrating that you value them for more than their money. 

Businesses that don't care about their customers will simply view customer data as another asset. Businesses that do care and want to build trust with their customers will ensure that data privacy is always protected and that customers can know what data is being used and how it is being used. 

What are the principles of data privacy? 

What are the 3 principles of data privacy? What are the 10 privacy principles? You may already have an expectation in mind of how businesses should adhere. At Ketch, we believe there are 4 essential data privacy principles for adhering to responsible data practices: 

  1. Data minimization. Data is a precious commodity, and businesses need to respect that commodity. To that end, businesses should only collect data that they absolutely need for business purposes. By doing so, businesses can reduce the risk of data falling into the wrong hands while respecting the customer's privacy.
  2. Data purpose limitation. Businesses should collect data for purposes directly related to the business in question. Businesses can build trust among their customers by limiting data to appropriate purposes. Furthermore, businesses should only use data for explicitly noted purposes. This purpose limitation ensures that data collection remains narrowly tailored and relevant to the purpose.
  3. Data transparency. Data privacy must be relevant to the larger business and legal world. To that end, any data privacy policies must be based on fairness, adhere to any relevant laws, and be transparent. Consumers have the right to know what their data is being used for and how it is being used, and this information should be made available to any consumer who turns over their data to your business. 
  4. Data retention. Businesses do not have a right to indefinitely hold on to consumer data. A responsible business must consider how long they need to retain customer data for business purposes, and set a strategy and plan for revisiting retention policies. Over time, holding onto old data not only provides limited business value, it’s a liability for the business. 

These 4 principles of data privacy create the bones of a comprehensive data privacy framework. While your organization's data privacy principles are important, what is far more important is that you create policies that turn these basic ideals into reality. In other words, you have to operationalize the data principles in question.

Depending on your people and system complexity, operationalizing data privacy can be complex. For example, reflecting people’s privacy choices across 100s of data systems requires technology and automation. In instances like this, you may benefit from bringing in an outside vendor - like Ketch - to help you turn data privacy principles into reality. 

GDPR principles

GDPR principles have become a cornerstone of general data privacy principles concerns. It is impossible to have a comprehensive conversation about data privacy principles without considering GDPR’s foundational role in modern data privacy regulations

GDPR is short for General Data Protection Regulation. It is the governing law surrounding personal and data privacy in the European Union. In many ways, it is now largely regarded as the leading legal effort in this arena. GDPR is regarded as one of the toughest and most consumer-friendly data privacy regulations in the world. 

There are 7 principles of GDPR. They are as follows:

  1. Purpose limitations: Data can only have internal uses, and the consumer must agree to the purpose of any data collection. Any use outside of this scope may be considered unlawful. 
  2. Lawfulness: Data collected must be collected and used for purposes that are legal and completely within the scope of the law. Furthermore, the data collected must be done in a way that ensures that data protects and advances the interest of the impacted individual. 
  3. Data minimization: This principle operates under the idea that data collected should be kept to an absolute minimum. In other words, a commercial company wouldn't collect your medical information for no reason. As such, data collected should be used for exactly what is necessary for the purposes of executing a business transaction or completing whatever the mission of the organization in question is.
  4. Confidentiality: Only people who are responsible for managing or processing the data should be able to access said data. Confidentiality applies internally and externally, meaning that outside organizations should not have access to the data in question.
  5. Accuracy: Data needs to be as accurate as possible. Of course, complete accuracy is not reasonable. However, businesses that collect data need to do whatever is possible to ensure that said data is accurate and up-to-date. 
  6. Accountability: Businesses and organizations are responsible to their customers for the data that they collect. In this regard, they must take appropriate steps to ensure that the data is accurately protected and inform impacted individuals if there is any data breach.
  7. Storage limitations: There is nothing wrong with storing data necessary for business functions. However, if data is no longer needed or a customer will never return, the data in question should be purged from the system. Only data necessary for a business function can be retained. 

GDPR & data privacy are intertwined, forever. Many of these principles have been in effect for years, and over time, they have become accepted as the best way to protect consumer information. As GDPR evolves and enforcement continues, many companies are realizing that they must create impactful privacy controls to enhance their business and build trust with their consumers. 

Data privacy principles examples

Every business can benefit from reviewing data privacy principles examples, determining how those examples apply to them, and using them in their own life or line of work. 

For example, Adobe is frequently cited as one of the best data privacy principles examples in business. Adobe manages numerous computer programs, including Photoshop. With a product that is almost exclusively digital, any security or privacy failure could mean the end of that company. To that end, they have frequently publicly discussed their steps to secure their customers' personal information. These steps include:

  • Encrypting all sensitive and personal information. 
  • Implementing internal controls that restrict who can access what data.
  • Regularly scheduled security audits allow the company to find and remedy any security vulnerabilities before they become major problems.
  • A consumer-facing privacy preferences portal for customers, using clear and easily understandable language to help users better understand how their data is used and protected. 

Personal data privacy principles examples can also be found in areas other than business. Many colleges, governmental units, or healthcare systems also have robust examples of data privacy principles that your organization can use. Colleges provide a fascinating example of the need for privacy protection: Schools often have personal information, medical history, and financial and educational data. As noted by a 2021 article in Inside Higher Ed, college data privacy plans must come with numerous features, including:

  • Offering opt-out provisions that allow students to restrict what data the college collects on them and how that data is used.
  • Conducting regular security audits to prevent data access by unauthorized individuals, both inside and outside of the school. These audits often work better when conducted by a third-party vendor. 
  • Create clear planning and informational provisions that explain data collection and data use. 
  • Discussing data across campus, including making students aware of how they can protect and monitor their data use. 

Getting data privacy rights is no longer optional. By creating effective data privacy principles, your organization can build consumer confidence and protect the critical information in your technological infrastructure. 

At Ketch, we're here to help. We offer a platform that can help you collect privacy choices from your customers and respect those choices across your business data ecosystem, no matter what regulations or jurisdictions you need to adhere to. Contact us for more information on how Ketch can make privacy compliance easy for your business. 

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