I think if we go back through the years, you would probably be able to quote me as saying that the year 20XX was the year of the breach. I think I’ve probably said it at least once every year. And, as it turns out, with good reason: Year after year, more privacy breaches are reported to commissioners and the media alike.
The Alberta Commissioner, Jill Clayton, has released figures indicating that, last year, they investigated 162 cases where personal information was breached. That is, there were 162 cases where there was a real risk of significant harm caused by the breach. That’s just in Alberta! Imagine what the numbers are going to look like for the federal office once the data breach notification regime comes into force under PIPEDA.
And, on the assumption that PIPEDA’s breach notification regime will come into force sometime in 2018, I’m going to go out a limb (not really) and say that 2018 is surely going to be the year of the breach. And, if you’re not convinced, just read a few of the stories in this week’s Digest. It’s filled with privacy breaches and we’re only two weeks into the new year.
However, I have to wonder ... is it that there really are more breaches? Have the risks to personal information really increased? Or is it that we are better at defining and reporting them? Have we seen an impact as a result of these breaches? How is it affecting organizations’ relationships with their customers?
I’m sure there will be other interesting issues in the headlines this year. Maybe something new and concrete will emerge from blockchain technology. Maybe GDPR will have an even more pronounced impact than it already has. Maybe we will see legislative reform here in Canada (are you holding your breath?). And, while I’m convinced there is a plethora of interesting topics that will emerge this year, even beyond those I have mentioned, I’m still going to say that 2018 will be THE year of the breach, to the point where we might even start to get breach fatigue.
On that note, rest up and have a great weekend.
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