Solve the Privacy Puzzle
Choice: You must let people choose whether or not to supply data. You also must give them a choice about secondary uses of their data unrelated to the primary purpose for which it was collected.
Access: The principle that data subjects have a right to see the data that you have about them, and change it or delete it if appropriate.
Security: You have to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the information, which means only allowing it to be seen, changed or used by persons who are authorized to do so.
Enforcement/Redress: You must have mechanisms in place to make sure that these principles are upheld, and to impose penalties if they are not.
Bear in mind that there is no universal legal requirement that says you must adopt or abide by these principles. Nor is there a universal legal requirement that says you are bound to post a privacy statement on the Web or to your customers. However, there is a universal legal requirement in America that such notices, if posted, be accurate. That requirement comes from the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the FTC considers a privacy statement to be a “privacy promise.” As the agency’s Web site states: “Under the FTC Act, the Commission guards against unfairness and deception by enforcing companies’ privacy promises about how they collect, use and secure consumers’ personal information.”
For many companies, the most demanding requirement—the biggest obstacle to putting out a defensible privacy statement—is the very practical one of determining what personal data the company is collecting, what is being done with it and by whom. The answer is to map your data flows. Track exactly what happens to customer data, typically defined as personally identifiable information (PII), from the moment it enters the system.