What is ‘privacy by design’?
Privacy by design is an approach to projects that promotes privacy and data protection compliance from the start. Unfortunately, these issues are often bolted on as an after-thought or ignored altogether.
Although this approach is not a requirement of the Data Protection Act, it will help organisations comply with their obligations under the legislation.
The ICO encourages organisations to ensure that privacy and data protection is a key consideration in the early stages of any project, and then throughout its lifecycle. For example when:
- building new IT systems for storing or accessing personal data;
- developing legislation, policy or strategies that have privacy implications;
- embarking on a data sharing initiative; or
- using data for new purposes.
We would like to see more organisations integrating core privacy considerations into existing project management and risk management methodologies and policies.
Benefits of taking a ‘privacy by design’ approach
Taking a privacy by design approach is an essential tool in minimising privacy risks and building trust. Designing projects, processes, products or systems with privacy in mind at the outset can lead to benefits which include:
- Potential problems are identified at an early stage, when addressing them will often be simpler and less costly.
- Increased awareness of privacy and data protection across an organisation.
- Organisations are more likely to meet their legal obligations and less likely to breach the Data Protection Act.
- Actions are less likely to be privacy intrusive and have a negative impact on individuals.
Privacy Impact Assessments
Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) are an integral part of taking a privacy by design approach. Our code of practice explains the principles which form the basis for a PIA.
Privacy impact assessments (PIAs) are a tool that you can use to identify and reduce the privacy risks of your projects. A PIA can reduce the risks of harm to individuals through the misuse of their personal information. It can also help you to design more efficient and effective processes for handling personal data.
You can integrate the core principles of the PIA process with your existing project and risk management policies. This will reduce the resources necessary to conduct the assessment and spreads awareness of privacy throughout your organisation.