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By Terry McQuay, CIPP, CIPP/C

Private Sector Privacy Predictions for 2008

From 2003 to 2007, increased investment in privacy was intended to achieve compliance with Canada's consent-based privacy laws. Next year, compliance will remain the cornerstone of privacy in Canada, but the focus will shift. In 2008, corporate Canada will invest in privacy management to reduce the likelihood of data breaches.

The first five of Nymity's top 10 predictions for 2008 are related to data breaches due to the following: continued media attention to data breaches; looming changes in privacy laws in Canada requiring organizations to provide data breach notification; and Canada's federal and provincial privacy commissioners publishing breach notification guidelines.

   1. Breach Notification Protocols
      Corporate Canada will take steps to prepare for a breach. Companies will create breach notification protocols based primarily on internal crisis management protocols and the privacy commissioners' guidelines. The fundamental challenges will continue however: when to provide notification, what form of notification is appropriate, and whether an organization should offer credit monitoring services.
   2. Training Employees on Privacy
      While some companies will invest in technology to help prevent data breaches, many will invest in some form of employee training on privacy, as most data breaches result from employee mistakes. Two of the key areas will be customer authentication and data destruction procedures, but the focus of employee privacy training will shift from the 10 Principles for the Protection of Personal Information to data protection.
   3. Privacy Solutions
      Vendors with security solutions are positioning their offerings as privacy solutions as companies purchase solutions to protect strategic corporate assets and protecting personal information is a strategic investment. Some companies are going beyond the standard approach to privacy, (policies, notices, procedures and training) and are installing infrastructure to further protect personal information. For example, most organizations have a policy that personal information should not be on laptop, but some organizations will go the extra distance and encrypt notebook computer hard disks in the event that an employee violates the policy and the laptop is lost or stolen.
   4. Privacy Audits
      Companies will invest in privacy audits in 2008 (technically privacy assessments). The compelling reasons are twofold: to show some level of due diligence in the event they are subject to a commissioner's investigation, and secondly, to help eliminate the potential for privacy breaches.
      Organizations embarking on privacy audits may find themselves in an awkward situation. An audit may reveal a breach that had gone unnoticed and the company is faced with the question of whether to provide notification of old breaches even though there has been no evidence of fraud.
   5. Vendor Management
      Organizations looking to eliminate data breaches will examine their outsourcing arrangements to assess the extent of their exposure. This examination will include contract reviews and assessments of vendor data handling processes. Most vendors will have anticipated these concerns and likely will have well-documented data handling processes.
      Organizations will continue to scrutinize the location of outsourced data due to concerns about personal information located outside of Canada. In some cases, the location of data will factor in vendor selection as some organizations will perceive it to be preferable to keep personal information in Canada.
   6. Do-Not-Call Rules
      In 2008, privacy officers in Canada will have a new law to contend with — Canada's Do-Not-Call rules. Although not considered a privacy law, it contains a set of rules for the use of personal information for which privacy officers will be accountable.
      Do-Not-Call rules quickly will become a corporate priority as organizations learn that for the first time, the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission has powers affecting their organization, including the authority to issue fines.
   7. Direct Marketing and Online Marketing
      Some organizations likely will respond to Do-Not-Call rules by shifting from telemarketing to other forms of lead-generating including direct marketing and online marketing. Privacy officers will need to update policies to reflect new marketing activities and work closely with marketing departments to ensure compliance.
   8. Employee Privacy
      Employee privacy in Canada has been a concern to most organizations that have operations across Canada — and this will continue in 2008. One new area of concern will be collecting information from social networking sites during the hiring process. We will see organizations using privacy laws as the compelling reasons for updating corporate records retention policies.
   9. GAPP
      Awareness of the Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) has increased substantially over the last few years, and it is likely that organizations will draw upon them when updating their privacy management frameworks and conducting privacy audits.
  10. Privacy Professional Certification
      CIPP/C, a privacy certification for Canadian Privacy Professionals offered by the IAPP was popular in 2007 and this trend will likely continue in 2008, especially with the IAPP announcing the Canadian Privacy Summit, a conference to be held in May annually.

Terry McQuay, CIPP, CIPP/C, is the Founder of Nymity, which offers Web-based privacy support to help organizations control their privacy risks. Learn more at www.nymity.com.


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