The world becomes more digital with each passing year. With smartphones and social media being ingrained in our daily habits and routines and businesses moving toward remote work and cloud-based ecosystems, more sensitive data is being shared online.
For every step forward made with technology, there will always be someone trying to access it for nefarious purposes. Here’s what you need to know about data protection and why it matters.
What is Data Protection?
As the name implies, data protection is the act of maintaining data integrity and keeping it secure. The challenge is protecting data without impeding its use for businesses and individuals and keeping up with how quickly data is transmitted worldwide.
Consider the average Facebook user, for example. If they add their phone number to their login profile, they’ve shared it with Facebook. Then, if they use Facebook to register with other applications, that information gets shared with other organizations. How do lawmakers ensure that information doesn’t get used for nefarious purposes?
Another example would be a developer in Microsoft PowerApps. What are Microsoft PowerApps? It’s an integrative suite that allows for app development within an organization, an effort that requires access to important data. How does a business ensure that data isn’t compromised or lost during the process?
In essence, data protection is a collection of rules and regulations that answer these questions. It goes beyond external attacks to encompass the implications of internal errors resulting in debilitating data loss scenarios.
What Are Data Protection Laws?
One of the overarching challenges with data protection and legalities surrounding the internet is the idea of global jurisdiction. While countries can monitor and censor what their people can do, no one country has jurisdiction over the internet. This leaves a gap in data protection when people are sharing more personal information than ever before.
The European Union has become a leader in regulating data protection. The UK, in particular, implemented the Data Protection Act (DPA) in 1998. The well-known implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 was a big step forward in data protection laws. While the GDPR doesn’t provide absolute data protection, it creates more accountability for businesses that collect data.
Some notable features of GDPR include requiring consent for collecting personal data, the right to have data deleted or removed, and the timely notification of a data breach.
Why Are Data Protection Laws Necessary?
The core reason that data protection laws are necessary is that without them, businesses are free to push the limits with consumer data. Storage and use are less of a concern without these laws in place as there would be no legal recourse for negligence.
Data protection is about more than ensuring no telemarketers access your phone number. Consider the fact that online banking and sharing personal data could lead to someone tapping into your bank account using information accessed from government databases or banks. In the past, allowing businesses to self-regulate their data protection has proven insufficient when protecting consumer rights.
There’s still plenty of work to be done when it comes to data protection. It’s a continuous effort to keep up with evolving technologies and to stay ahead of hackers and scam artists. Continued vigilance and buy-in from key global leaders is essential for keeping people safe in our technology-driven world.
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