Data privacy’s primary focus is assuring an individual’s right to protect personal information from unwanted, prying eyes. An organization’s responsibility is to collect a person’s data only with an individual’s consent and use it strictly in accordance with their wishes. This means people must be informed in plain language about why their data is being collected, how the data will be managed, how the data will be used, and who will have the ability to view it. An essential aspect of maintaining data privacy is preventing personal data from falling into unauthorized hands, particularly since that data can be used in a harmful manner.
While the focus of data privacy is on an individual’s rights, and data security’s obvious obligation is protecting data from unsanctioned viewing, data security’s responsibilities extend much further, encompassing all the policies, procedures, and activities necessary to secure the data an organization collects, stores, uses, shares, sells, and deletes.
Comparing and Contrasting the Two
- All disclosure agreements relate to data privacy. They are not required for data security since disclosure agreements are not engaged with actively protecting the data.
- Data security focuses on the technology and protocols that restrict access, while data privacy focuses on contractual agreements or regulatory requirements that identify the right to access.
- Data privacy and data security share the goal of minimizing the amount of time information is retained.
- With data privacy, the goal is to minimize the amount of data collected to only what is necessary. With data security, the goal is to minimize the amount of data collected or stored to reduce exposure to the risk of breaches.
- Regarding third-party access, data privacy focuses on the reason for the transfer, while data security focuses on minimizing risk in the mechanics of the transfer. Both rely on the integrity of the third-party to which the data is being transferred.
A Social Media Example
The way a social media company uses your information to administer your account fits into the realm of data privacy. As an example, social media companies will advertise products based on what they learn from your interactions on their platform. If you don’t want them to collect or use information about you in this way, their process becomes a data privacy issue.
An example of data security is accessing your social media account with a password or two-factor authentication. If someone hacks into your account, this is a data security breach.
Example: Installing an App on a Smartphone
When downloading an app to your smartphone, you are likely to be presented with a privacy agreement before installation begins. Part of the agreement will explain the company’s intention to access specific information stored on your device, such as your location, contacts, photos, etc. Once you consent, it is now the responsibility of the company providing the app to protect your data from any individuals or parties not listed in the agreement. This part of the agreement is related to data privacy. Should another entity not include in the agreement access your data, this is now a data security issue. How the app company secures your data is a critical factor of data security operations.
The privacy of an individual’s personal data depends on an organization’s comprehensive and robust data security program. For this reason, data privacy and data security are inevitably linked. However, the two terms are distinct and should not be used interchangeably. The primary goals of every organization managing data is to guarantee the privacy of personal data and secure this data from the harmful effects of damaging breaches.
If you are a company handling digital information and do not have a trust center yet, creating one may be essential to your future growth, customer confidence, and peace of mind. You may contact one of our trust center experts to find out how to get started with your own trust center.
Please email us at email@example.com to schedule a no-pressure, free consultation.
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