Almost every country has put certain data privacy laws into place over the last decade. It can be a little daunting to navigate such laws and regulations but users, as well as website operators, need to be more familiar with them.
What is Data Privacy? What are Data Privacy Laws?
Data privacy is related to how information is handled based on its significance. For instance, you probably wouldn’t mind telling your name to a stranger when you first meet them, but would you share more private information? Would you give them your number, address, or more? However, when you sign up for a new online service or even a bank account these days, there is a lot of personal information that you will probably have to share. What is of concern here is, how secure or private is the information you share with them? What ensures the privacy of your data? This is where data privacy laws come in.
Data privacy laws are laws that are focused on data protection to ensure that a person or business’s sensitive data is handled properly. These laws regulate the manner in which information is collected, the amount of control a person has over his/her data once they transfer it and how they are informed of what happens with their data. Failure to follow the data privacy laws applicable in a certain jurisdiction can lead to lawsuits, fines and even banning of the platform.
Importance of Data Privacy Laws for Individuals & Businesses
You may wonder why you need to be concerned about data privacy laws. Well, there is good reason to. For instance, you may choose to share your bank account details with your spouse through an email. If data privacy laws were not in place, this information could easily fall into the hands of someone who could use it to withdraw funds from your account without your approval. Imagine another situation where you store your private pictures on an app on your phone. You think these are secure because you have a password set, but are they? How much access does a third party have to your pictures, emails, documents, and more? This is why there must be regulations that make the service provider protect your information in a more secure way.
For an individual, data privacy laws are concerned with their personal information like social security numbers, personal health information, financial data like credit card numbers, addresses, birthdates, etc. For businesses, data privacy goes beyond just the personal information of the employers or employees in the company. It involves the protection of data about the company’s operations, proprietary research, financial data, and more.
Roughly speaking, data protection laws are concerned with all kinds of data that is personal or confidential such as intellectual property data, financial data, etc. Data protection covers three broad categories that include data security, data protection, and data privacy. When the laws and regulations are followed, it ensures that your data is protected as best as possible.
Some form of legislation on data privacy has been introduced in most countries around the world in response to a section of its population or particular industries. Not only does data privacy protect your information from internal or external threats, but it also determines with whom data is shared and the kind of digital data that is shared as well. The laws on data privacy deal with the control process on data sharing, where and how data is stored and regulations applicable for the processes involved. One important difference to understand is that between data security and privacy. Data security does not equal data privacy. Data privacy is concerned with how data is collected, used, and shared. Data security is meant to protect data from external threats or malicious insiders.
Another aspect of data privacy laws to consider is data sovereignty. This refers to the data laws of the country in which the data is located. As cloud data services have started becoming more popular, there is also an increased lack of security. This is why many countries have passed laws that require the service provider to keep the user data within their residing country. This allows the country to protect their data that falls within their sovereignty. Hence, governments are working to prevent companies from storing data outside the geographic boundaries of the location from which it originated.
To put it simply, data privacy laws are in place to keep data private so it isn’t misused by the wrong people. These laws protect a person’s credit card from being used by a criminal. They prevent the information of a government agency from going into the hands of an enemy state. Such laws protect the proprietary data of a company from reaching its competitors. Criminals can use a person or company’s data in more ways than you can imagine. There are cases of identity theft being registered every minute due to data breaches. All of this data is only kept protected when there are data privacy laws in place in a country.