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The importance of data privacy, transparency, and outlining use case
In recent years, the increase in both the amount and accessibility of data has given us power that can be used for good. There’s an opportunity for increased innovation, more relevant products, and a more efficient world, among a whole host of other things.
But increased power can be exploited, data can be used to influence people’s decisions or used to influence levels of control over individuals, and that can be scary for some. It can cause frustration in others.
Highlighted by media outlets, we see cases of misuse and exploitation of data by organisations which can overshadow the good that others are working towards by taking advantage of our ever-increasing access to data.
So, what can we do to help highlight the good that can come from using data?
We can be transparent.
Transparency can mitigate against doubt, which mitigates against fear, which avoids anger and confusion. And if organisations are still seeing fear, confusion, or anger from those whose data they are using or holding, then they need to either provide more understanding, or if that’s not feasible, evaluate their processes and decide if they need to do things differently.
Sometimes following current rules and guidelines can fall short of the protection, transparency, and privacy people expect of their data.
Governments, regulatory bodies, and other groups implement standards for the protection of data, use of data, and transparency of any use. But as the pace of innovation and change continues to increase, it can leave their guidance falling behind, not keeping up with the latest technology and data uses.
Because of this, organisations at the forefront of their fields can often be left with rules and guidance that are not wholly appropriate, with some rules no longer seeming to apply directly to their processes.
So what should organisations be doing about it?
Organisations should be putting data privacy, protection, and appropriate use at the forefront of their values when handling individuals’ data. People within organisations should think about their data processes and consider if they’d feel comfortable with what they’re doing if it was their own personal data, but more than that they should make sure that others understand and are comfortable with what they are doing.
Where they can, organisations should follow existing guidelines, where existing guidelines don’t align, organisations should help in shaping suitable guidelines that focus on the protection of peoples data. They should work with regulatory bodies and data subjects to help them understand what they are doing and get them up to speed in a fast-paced space.
But I think most importantly where guidance isn’t in place, organisations need to be transparent both in the data they are handling and in how they plan to use it.
Having the attitude of transparency and making sure people are comfortable with what you are doing versus storming ahead in uncertainty helps to mitigate against misuse of data and what could be interpreted as exploitation of data by some.
With clearer use cases and data pathways we can help to protect individuals’ right to privacy while still having data that we can use to innovate and help people. With better privacy, protection, and transparency of data we build better relationships and more trust with individuals, the same individuals that we are using that data to support.
Author: Jamie Gray
MIRADOR ANALYTICS INTERNATIONAL