Data privacy has been in the news more than ever in the last year. There’s the usual stream of data breaches but exacerbated by concerns over the privacy of the various Covid-19 tracking apps, discussion over “vaccination passports” and in the last month, planned changes to privacy policies in a major consumer messaging app (yes, that one).

Why do we need a Data Privacy Day?

For businesses, protecting the data of their customers, employees and users is a legal and moral obligation. Ironically, when it comes to our private lives we can forget just how much of our personal data we entrust to social media, businesses, and public sector organisations.

Data Privacy Day is a reminder to us all to be less complacent about permissions and settings and to ask tough questions of the organisations and technology who store all that data. To mark last year’s Data Protection Day the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham CBE said:

“Today is an opportunity to reflect on the rights that protect people’s personal data around the world. It is also a day to recognise the role those rights play in encouraging trust and confidence in how organisations handle data, which is particularly important in enabling successful digital innovation.”

Most transitions, on and offline, mean sharing personal data with organisations like names and addresses. Every website visit, online purchase, social media post or email adds to the data stored about each of us.

How does data handling affect trust in organisations?

A survey by Statista in summer 2020 found that protecting personal data from third parties, openness about data breaches and easy access to your own data (and the ability to change or remove it) were all actions that would make the public trust businesses more.

The ICO found that public trust had fallen from 2019 to 2020 - just 27% had “high trust and confidence … in companies and organisations storing and using their personal information ... significantly down from the 32% stating this in 2019”.

In the same report, 72% said that having personal information used for scams/fraud would be most likely to prevent them from using an organisation. In comparison, just 62% said that their personal data being shared without a valid reason would have the same effect. As 39% would like directors of the company/organisation holding their personal information to be personally responsible, organisations and their leaders can’t afford to ignore how their data handling policies affect their audiences’ trust.

How is Guild building trust in data privacy?

At Guild, safeguarding the personal data of all our members is the foundation of our innovation in building a messaging and community platform. We don’t provide personal data to third parties, there are no ads, we’re UK-based, fully GDPR compliant, and we give each user complete control of and access to their own data. We can tell you that (and you can check for yourself), but for us, the most significant proof is that several data privacy-focused organisations have trusted us to help them bring together privacy communities.

One of these is Privtech Nation - founder Abigail Dubiniecki is a lawyer who also writes and teaches on a range of expert privacy and data protection matters. She says:

“I need to be confident that any tool I choose takes privacy very seriously. But I also wanted something easy to use so that other privacy advocates I know could quickly and easily tap into our collective expertise and contacts. Using Guild combines the ease of use of a consumer messaging app but with a focus on achieving and maintaining the privacy, security and regulatory compliance that are essential for professional use."

The Data Privacy Day website has many free resources including this tipsheet. Here at Guild, privacy is a top priority for us, and we’re proud to be one of the 2021 Data Privacy Day Champions.

More on Guild about privacy:

Digital & data privacy resources
Is secrecy really the right policy for messaging apps?
Guild’s privacy and security advantages over WhatsApp
Communities must prioritise privacy

(Photo by Franck on Unsplash)


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