Today, tomorrow, and every day is Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day is observed annually on January 28 to raise awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust.
Millions of people worldwide are unaware, uninformed, or even disinterested about how their personal information is collected, shared, and used. In today’s digital society, such attitudes can carry immense consequences.
Businesses are continuously finding new uses for individuals’ personal information, but often without individuals’ consent. For example, in the last two weeks alone we’ve learned about a secretive facial recognition startup that might “end privacy as we know it.” According to one of the company’s early investors, the startup’s software could “lead to a dystopian future.” On the flip side, Google Chrome announced plans to ban third-party cookies by 2022, a good thing unless you’re a digital advertiser.
Likewise, the legal landscape is constantly evolving. The evolution of data privacy legislation began with a number of federal laws in the United States, including the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 1974 Privacy Act, 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). There is now a wide array of federal and state laws in the U.S. The latest includes California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which came into effect on New Year’s Day 2020.
In the European Union, the landmark 1995 Data Protection Directive set the stage. It was superseded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was adopted in April 2016 and enforceable as of May 2018. Lawmakers in the U.S. and elsewhere have taken notice of the GDPR and are either enacting new, or amending existing, privacy legislation.
Recognizing the complexity of this evolving landscape worldwide, Leidos’ Global Privacy Office (GPO), led by Chief Privacy Officer Heidi Salow, creates policy, provides counsel, supports customer programs, leads training sessions, and evaluates a wide range of company activities, all in light of applicable data protection requirements.
We take our privacy and data protection obligations to our employees and customers seriously.
Heidi SalowChief Privacy Officer
“In order to protect employee and customer personal data, perform responsibly under existing contracts, distinguish ourselves in the market, win new business, and most importantly, be good corporate citizens wherever we operate, Leidos strives to comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws, regulations, standards, and best practices,” says Salow.
Salow leads the GPO in implementing an enterprise-wide culture that prioritizes five main pillars: Governance, Accountability, Operational Compliance, Communications/Education/Training, and Data Protection Compliance Automation.
“We take our privacy and data protection obligations to our employees and customers seriously,” says Salow. “Failing to do so could mean damage to the company’s reputation, fines, litigation, and revenue losses.”
For this reason, the GPO promotes transparency about how Leidos gathers, handles, and preserves the personal information of all individuals with whom the company comes in contact. The GPO team routinely evaluates policies and processes, recommending mitigation strategies when needed.
“Leidos operates in 30 countries, so when our global teams undertake new programs or corporate initiatives involving personal data, many laws, regulations and standards may need to be followed,” says Salow. “As a result, we work closely with numerous program teams and enterprise functions all the time.”
As more legislatures pass data privacy laws and as government entities ramp up enforcement, we can expect the data privacy landscape to get murkier before it gets clearer. Salow says it’s important to understand that as technology changes, so do the laws. “Keeping up with these ever-changing developments is one of the reasons Leidos established the GPO.”
Leidos strives to stay ahead of the curve in this hazy area and is proud to celebrate Data Privacy Day.
Worried about how secure your personal information is? Use this guide and read these articles to learn more about privacy software and settings: