What is privacy by design?

In this "What is" video Vlerick Professor Öykü Isik explains what privacy by design means.

Not a day goes by without yet another cyber security or privacy incident on the news. You may have heard about the Google Calendar scam, where scammers insert suspicious links into people's schedules, tricking them into clicking on that link and opening Pandora's box. Who knows what cyber threats lurk on the other end of that url?

It gets even scarier: organisations like government institutions that we entrust with our most sensitive data, are also frequently under attack. Think of the news of a US border agency being hacked, exposing millions of traveller photos and licence plates.

But it does not always have to be about hackers or people with bad intentions. It has been over a year now that GDPR has been put into effect, seriously restricting organisations' personal data processing initiatives. Since then, digital giants like Google, Facebook, and even Spotify are being scrutinised for suspicious data processing initiatives. We are still failing on the topic of digital resilience.

Digital resilience is an organisation's capability to maintain, change, and recover technology-dependent operational capabilities. These days, organisations are heavily investing in cyber defence products and services. But things are not going to get any easier. As technology evolves, so do cyber threats. It's now time to realise that privacy and cybersecurity are to be included from the beginning in the design phase of products, processes, and services. Doing so is called privacy by design, or security by design.

Today, most organisations see cybersecurity as the responsibility of the IT department, and privacy as the responsibility of the legal or compliance department. Applying privacy by design means that a cross-functional team that is composed of legal, IT, and product design people, actually takes care of the privacy and cybersecurity implications of these new products, processes, and services. This way, we stop the firefighting approach and switch to a more proactive approach when it comes to digital resilience.

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