The 28th of January: Data Privacy Day. The tradition started on this day in 2008 to recognise Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty concerning data protection.
This may seem surprisingly long ago. It's only in the last few years (in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and data leaks bigger and more frequent than ever before that data protection and privacy have come to the fore of the average person's concerns.
As such, giving some attention to contributions to today's hashtag feels more important than ever.
Guild was built on foundations of privacy consciousness, and has dedicated a lot space on this blog to exploring how data protection sits in the future of work as well as the present. To summarise these into some key insights, we've come up with three things to be mindful of in the current privacy climate and going forward.
1. Get to know privacy by design, and embrace it
Whether it's in the tech you use or the tech you create, the approach founded by Ann Cavoukian of embedding privacy consciousness in the choices we make is an outlook that puts GDPR-style box-ticking into meaningful perspective.
In October last year, the Guild team attended a panel on taking Privacy by Design from theory to practice, with a keynote speech by Cavoukian herself. Her emphasis on data protection being 'proactive not reactive; preventative not remedial' is an admirable and achievable attitude to adopt, and one that resonates strongly with Guild's purpose and design.
Cavoukian's thinking on the topic is fascinating down to the detail and is worth exploring.
Happy #DataPrivacyDay! Privacy is alive and well! 2019 will mark a turning point for privacy, raising the bar on data protection. The GDPR and PbD will be leading the way. Please join us: Never give up! https://t.co/udb6oke3ym— Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D. (@AnnCavoukian) 28 January 2019
2. Read more than just the headlines
Every week another news story is published revealing unsettling facts about platforms that handle a lot of our data. Most recently, Facebook announced an infrastructural merger of WhatsApp, Instagram messenger and Facebook messenger.
Not only does this throw the privacy of these distinct apps into question, but acts as another nail in the coffin of WhatsApp's ability to claim that they are totally end-to-end encrypted. Instagram and Facebook's server-based function is ostensibly not compatible with WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, and vice-versa, though Mark Zuckerburg claims that end-to-end is something he wants to implement across the merger.
It will be hard to totally remove these platforms from our daily lives, especially as the threads linking them all strengthen. Staying alert to changing data policies and being prepared to adapt with them will help individuals preserve some autonomy over their data.
We got a lawyer's perspective on the legality of WhatsApp in the context of data protection, seeking as much transparency in this area as possible.
3. Support the people trying to make it better
We don't think you should settle for shoddy privacy, and increasingly, you don't have to. Tech emerging alongside better knowledge of the importance of privacy consciousness will bring utility without compromise.
Thinktank Doteveryone, whose goal is to champion responsible tech, created a map of the ecosystem of tech for good – including those conscious of data protection and privacy. Seeking out and supporting organisations who are doing their bit to raise standards in technology fortifies that there is a demand for alternatives to platforms currently not doing enough.
There is a lot to reflect upon on this year's Data Privacy Day. If 2018 was the year of revelation about the impact data protection has on our daily lives, 2019 will hopefully be the year for turning revelation into action and betterment, from individuals and businesses alike.
Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash.