Data Privacy in 2022: Navigating an Ever-Changing Terrain


Where there is data, there is a risk of a data breach. It is essential to put in place protective measures in the face of such an event and to educate yourself to spot a potential breach.

The importance of the correct implementation of data protection guidelines

Data protection or privacy laws are adopted or changed to keep up with new technologies (such as artificial intelligence), and organizations strive to comply with these laws, including any changes. Additionally, organizations want to earn and maintain the trust of their stakeholders, including consumers, and compliance with data protection or privacy laws is important for this reason. As data breaches increasingly dominate the headlines, organizations risk losing consumer trust due to data security breaches.

With the introduction of data protection or privacy laws, regulatory bodies are created to encourage and monitor compliance with the laws. Many regulators also provide data protection or privacy guidelines to help organizations comply with the law. For example, the Singapore Data Protection Commission has its “Advisory Guidelines on Key Concepts of Data Protection Law” to explain how it intends to apply data protection law.

How individuals can spot potential data breaches before they happen, both in the workplace and in their own personal profiles

It is important that individuals know their rights under the PDPA and ask organizations that collect their personal data why they do so and how they will use, disclose and protect that personal data. The more personal data organizations ask for, especially if they ask for sensitive personal data, the more the individual should investigate it to see if it meets the standards of good data protection practice. Organizations’ published privacy policies can provide insight into the purpose of data collection and how organizations will use, disclose and protect it. It’s good practice to get into the habit of reading the privacy policy before downloading an app, for example, so you know what the organization does with personal data. Sometimes you may decide not to download it after all.

Red flags of a potential workplace data breach include a lack of data protection policies and standard operating procedures and training for staff, a lack of a data protection officer (DPO) or committee, and the absence of a data protection management program. (DPMP). These are the basic requirements for basic data protection practices within an organization. Without a properly developed and implemented DPMP, and a designated DPO overseeing the operations of the DPMP, an organization is at high risk with respect to the likelihood of a data breach or other failure to comply with the law.

How to identify and overcome flaws in corporate data protection policies

Defects can fall into either of two main categories. First, there is the processing of data that is unethical even though it otherwise complies with data protection law. Second, there is data processing that does not comply with applicable data protection law.

When it comes to processing personal data, unethical practices include organizations that do not obtain consent from individuals for the use of personal data about them, are not transparent about the purposes for which personal data will be used and/or disclosed, and fails to allow individuals to become aware of the purposes of the processing of personal data to which they consent.

In order to effectively govern data, it is essential that organizations know how personal data is collected, used, disclosed and stored (CUDS) in their business processes. This requires them to build a data inventory and track the flow of personal data within the organization and to and from third parties, such as service providers and other vendors. It is also vital for organizations to assess the risks associated with the processing of personal data across the organization (data flows), develop and implement controls to manage those risks, and conduct analytics. Data Protection Impact Statement (DPIA). Controls include implementing policies and processes/standard operating procedures (SOPs) that support business operations in compliance with data protection laws and training staff on these policies and SOPs.

Additionally, it is essential that the organization maintains its compliance efforts by educating stakeholders on personal data protection policies, including performing regular data protection audits and consistent risk assessments. Another key element would be to ensure that the organization has a plan to respond to breach incidents.

What factors encourage users to share their information

Over the past decade, we have seen consumers become more comfortable with the digital landscape and actively engage in online activities. Consumers even regularly exchange personal data for free services. However, while something like this is free, the cost to an individual comes in the form of personal data collected and used to enable the organization to generate revenue. In other words, when a service is free, the consumer is actually the product.

Many websites also have social login, which allows users to register with their website by providing information in their social media accounts. This provides a seamless experience for users and could be a contributing factor in making it easier for users to share their information. Users may also be more likely to share their information with websites or apps if lots of family or friends do so as well.

How to Break the Bad Habits That Lead to Data Breaches

Individuals should always read privacy policies before giving consent to any website or application they intend to use.

Where there is data, there is a risk of #databreach. It is essential to put in place protective measures in the face of such an event and to educate yourself to spot a potential breach. #privacy #datarespectClick to tweet

In organizations, the “tone at the top” is of fundamental importance. Senior management and the board should make it clear that the organization takes data protection seriously and should provide resources – financial budget and staffing – accordingly to implement a DPMP. Staff training in the resulting policies and SOPs is crucial. We often see data breaches described as “human error”, which is unacceptable to regulators and should not occur where there is sufficient staff training and a strong tone at the top. As important as starting the DPMP, it is important to maintain it. The organization should maintain its compliance efforts by educating stakeholders about its data protection policies, including performing regular data privacy audits and regular risk assessments.


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