Did you know there’s a Data Privacy Day? If you hadn’t heard of it before, chances are you saw it this year in a news headline or your Facebook feed. It’s been around since the European Union set it for recognition back in 2007, with the U.S. jumping onboard in 2008. Those of us who are particularly concerned with the issue of privacy safekeeping just celebrated it, on January 28. We know that the crew over at Microsoft observed the day—they’re proactive about their support for data privacy, and not just as a compliance standard. They argue that commitment to consumer privacy is part of what it is to be a good citizen in today’s global, digital world. And they’re right.
The growth of digital data
Data that companies collect over the internet has increased exponentially over the years. The global internet population has grown dramatically, and the amount of transactions we do online is rapidly growing as well. In fact, the vast majority of the data out there was created in the last two years. The world today is continually creating billions of bytes of data every minute. So it’s a big task—and an important one—to ensure that the data privacy of all these people is continually maintained.
How data privacy has evolved
With our growing data generation has come an increasing number of security incidents. In the first three quarters of 2019 alone, there were 5,183 breaches along many different sectors, which exposed a total of total of 7.9 billion records. Governments have responded with different policies to ensure data privacy for citizens:
- In 2000, the E.U. and the U.S. enacted Safe Harbor, a set of privacy principles governing the protection of data transferred across the Atlantic.
- In 2015 the European Court of Justice overturned the Safe Harbor policy, and it was replaced with the Privacy Shield framework in 2016.
- In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in the European Union, giving E.U. residents increased control over their private information.
- Countries across the world, such as Japan, China, Brazil, and India, began to form similar regulations.
- On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect, giving California residents increased control of their data privacy as well.
Data privacy as a human right
Clearly, data privacy is a big issue that isn’t going away. For companies who collect personal data of their consumers, failing to comply with privacy standards can bring about some hefty fines. But it’s not just about keeping compliance. Many of us view privacy as a basic human right—indeed, it is recognized as such in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other treaties and constitutions across the globe. If we don’t hold onto that view, then we will easily lose privacy completely. The regulations that are put in place to protect data privacy are there to uphold this basic right.
Like Microsoft, we at Infused Innovations embrace this concept that protecting data privacy is simply the right thing to do. We see it as not only a compliance issue but actually a much larger, ongoing human rights movement that we are excited to participate in. We hope that other companies and citizens will join us in this outlook, observing and appreciating data privacy every day of the year. For more ways you can uphold and support this, check out Microsoft’s tips on building a culture of data privacy.
To see what else Microsoft is doing for good global citizenship, take a look at the tech giant’s environmental plans to be carbon negative by 2030. Also, see our CEO’s statement on how digital responsibility and human rights go hand in hand.