What’s the Purpose of Data Protection?
By Matt Brennan
Proper data protection can help you through a number of everyday circumstances.
Whether you realize it or not, as a consumer, your data is submitted everywhere. If you’ve made phone calls, used social media, filed taxes, or used wearable technology, chances are you’ve given some of your data to be able to do these things.
There are certainly benefits to partaking in these events or using this technology. In many instances, it’s a necessary step to partake in whatever technology you are looking to use. But just because it’s a necessary step in the process, doesn’t make it safe.
What is Data Protection?
To talk about the need for data protection, it helps to have a working framework of what it is. Personal data is any information that relates to a private person. In the online world, information is rampant, and often shared by the individual.
Data protection refers to any practices, safeguards, or rules that protect this personal information and the rights of the data controller. It gives residents more control over whether they must give this information up to enjoy specific products or services, and how it can be used.
The Drawbacks to Data and Why Data Protection Matters
The personal data that you choose to share often says a lot about you and who you are. For data collectors, it can serve as an insight into your thoughts, activities, and your life. This data isn’t harmless at this point, and when in the wrong hands, it can be used to exploit you.
This is especially troublesome for vulnerable members of society such as senior citizens, members or repressed or marginalized groups, or even journalists, activists, or human rights defenders. It’s why a handful of states within the U.S, and several countries around the world have taken additional steps to protect their residents’ data.
Why Citizens Need to Be Protected
There are two essential reasons for the government to step in and protect citizens’ individual data rights.
Current laws and the current reality don’t mix – Technology and innovation move faster than regulation. People find new ways to capitalize on technology, and sometimes there are people who use that technology with ill intentions.
With the internet, people have been sharing more information as part of their time online. Data protection laws help to protect people’s privacy from those who wish to exploit this information for their own personal gain. Any privacy laws that existed before the internet will not meet the needs of today’s modern world.
Corporations are not policing themselves when it comes to the use of data – A common theme within the US is that corporations and businesses can police themselves. But when an action is within their self-interest, it becomes difficult for them to stop. This is not a methodology likely to work in the favor of private residents.
A Prominent Issue
Data protection is an increasingly prominent issue around the globe, and more lawmakers are looking at how to protect their residents’ data. It’s become an important area where residents can benefit from more protection.