The Oxford Dictionary defines privacy as “the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.” In simpler times, this definition was sufficient. It is a common understanding that every single person in the world is entitled to their privacy, whether it be in our homes, or in a public setting. However, we now live in a different time. In this day and age, our privacy can be breached not only by being observed by others physically, but by being observed, and even disturbed, by others virtually. Demkor prides itself in ensuring that all privacy and data protection concerns are addressed.

With technology being such an immense part of our everyday lives, we need to reassess and redefine what privacy means to us. More importantly, we should be educating ourselves to better understand the depth of what it means to have our privacy breached today. Our privacy can now be breached by someone that is a million miles away or, quite simply, by an individual who does not physically exist, such as an automated software.

A human right is defined as “a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person.” The Right to Privacy is listed as the 12th human right by the United Nations. However, it is defined as your right to physical privacy by ensuring that no one has the right to come into your home, open your mail or bother you for no good reason. This description of the Right to Privacy does not reflect the reality of today with the abundance of technology to protect individuals from the inevitable truth of what a breach of privacy actually means. Our Right to Privacy, as it relates to modern times, should be protected in the same way that we protect our Freedom of Speech, Equality, Freedom of Religion, etc.

Every day, we see countless social media breaches, biometric data breaches, and more and more cloud data breaches. Research shows that these breaches are not going to stop from happening and, in fact, will continue to occur more often. Technology is growing at such a rapid pace that it has altered the definition of “privacy”. It is not in a position to slow down and wait for us to figure out how to be more secure. At Demkor, we promote a culture of privacy and offer data breach management services. Just because your privacy has not been threatened yet, it does not mean that you should not value it in the same way that you value other basic human rights.

How do we treat privacy as a human right? 

Protect it: You can protect your privacy by limiting what you share online. Before sharing any information about yourself on any website or application, take a few moments and skim through the privacy policy available. Pay close attention to what the holder of such information intends to do with your data.

Hide sensitive data: Taking it one step further to protecting your data, be careful not to share sensitive data and expose yourself to different threats. With this in mind, always ask yourself if the information provided is sensitive or confidential. There are numerous ways to prevent the disclosure of sensitive data. You may want to start by making great use of the privacy settings, by limiting the amount of personal information you share online. Some websites or applications may have the option that allows you to “opt-out” from sharing personal information. Also, be cautious with the content you decide to publish on public social networks. Generally speaking, sensitive data includes payment card numbers, financial information, social security numbers, passwords, patient data namely protected health information (“PHI”) and naturally personally identifiable information (“PII”) such as names, emails, residential addresses and telephone numbers. If a breach were to occur in your company that would compromise the above-mentioned sensitive information of your customers or your employees, the unique BNR.Finder at Demkor provides detailed research findings gathered into one place to ensure timely compliance with data breach reporting requirements.

Passwords: We are all guilty as charged when it boils down to using the same password for most of our log ins. It is imperative to make a conscious effort to use different passwords and to regularly change those passwords.

Know your rights: Most countries have privacy laws and many countries are reworking their privacy laws to fit our new reality. If you live in the EU, you can consult the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If you live in the United States, you can visit your Attorney General’s website. If you live in Canada, you can consult the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The laws and regulations are readily available to every one of us. It is our responsibility to be aware of our rights. For instance, you have the right to make a request to a company for your data to be deleted and erased from their records. You also have the right to know what type of data they are controlling or processing. PRIV.Tools at Demkor provides an abundance of helpful documents such as quick reference documents, easy-to-use templates for documents required by these regulations, etc.

Raise awareness: Talk about it! It may not seem like the most interesting conversation to be having with your friends, family members, colleagues or employees, but, nonetheless, it is critical. Talk about the different ways you all can balance your desire for privacy while still being active on social media and other online platforms. One way to start the conversation can be by asking: “Have you checked your privacy settings on Facebook lately?” BE.Trained is a service provided by Demkor that helps in being proactive in promoting a culture of privacy within your company.

Treating our data as our most valuable asset is an essential priority in our every-day lives. Data has become the most valuable resource in the world, kicking oil out to the curb. It is a proven fact that corporations are treating our data as their most valuable resource – we should be too!