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Darren Guarnaccia Posted by Darren Guarnaccia January 28, 2020

Why every day needs to be “Data Privacy Day” in our data-driven economy

Today is “Data Privacy Day” (or if you’re in the EU, that’s “Data Protection Day” to you). Observed every January 28, Data Privacy Day is an international initiative dedicated to individual privacy rights and the need to protect and safeguard personally identifiable information.

Data Privacy Day began in the U.S. and Canada in 2008 as an extension of Europe’s Data Protection Day. The date has significance; it marks the signing of Convention 108 – the first legally-binding international treaty on privacy and data protection – on January 28, 1981. Data Protection Day is currently observed in the United States, Canada, Israel, and 47 European countries. 

Data Privacy Day acts as an annual prod for individuals and organizations to wake up to the importance of safeguarding data, respecting privacy, and enabling trust. But as consumers now enjoy unprecedented regulatory data protection, does it still have a role?

Absolutely! The past two years have been a watershed period for data protection globally. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018, and on January 1 of this year, California’s privacy law, The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), went into effect and inspired new data protection laws in multiple other states. In a snowball of regulation, data privacy laws have been enacted in over 80 countries worldwide, including Argentina, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Philippines, many of them bearing a close resemblance to the GDPR.

There’s more work to be done

And yet… even with this growing raft of consumer data protections in place, there is evidently still much work to be done. Since the GDPR came into effect, hefty fines have been levied at some of the world’s most well-known companies, (including Google €50 millionBritish Airways $228 million, Marriott $123 million), showing that many organizations, regardless of the depth of their pockets, are still on the back foot with regards to their responsibilities.

There are many reasons why organizations are falling short when it comes to data protection, ranging from lack of awareness or technical capabilities to address the requirements through to sheer reluctance. The huge value of consumer data means that it will always be vulnerable, and is a prime reason that many companies are dragging their feet to change their practices and pull out of the data “gold rush” that has performed so well for them in the past.

Data Privacy Day acts as an important reminder to these companies that the issue is not going to go away. In fact, the growth in global regulations reflects a wider consumer movement for better data protection. Today, consumer trust has become just as valuable as consumer data, possibly even more valuable – it takes years to build but can be destroyed in an instant. To keep consumer trust, companies need to invest in long-term strategies for protecting their users’ data and demonstrating their commitment rather than adopting one-off initiatives as a sop to compliance.

What Crownpeak believes

At Crownpeak, we are proud supporters of Data Privacy Day, but believe that organizations would do well to keep its data privacy principles front of mind every day and through every customer interaction. Our mission is to help our customers do this by building privacy experiences that actively grow consumer trust and set their brand apart from the crowd. When organizations can illustrate that they are serious about defending data privacy and respecting consumer rights, they stand a much better chance of gaining data consent and building loyalty – it’s a win-win in today’s new, consensual data economy.