What is data privacy and why is it important?

Data privacy has always been of great importance. However, as more and more of our data is becoming digitized, and we often share information online, data privacy is taking on greater importance than before. One company may have the personal information of millions of people, and that is the data that needs to be kept private so that the identity of the customers can stay safe and that the company’s reputation remains undamaged.


Data privacy is the branch of information security dealing with proper handling of data concerning the consent, notice, sensitivity, and regulatory concerns. Practical data privacy problems usually revolve around whether or how the data can be shared with third parties, if data can legally be collected and stored, and regulatory restrictions such as GDPR, HIPAA, or COPPA.


In May 2018, the European Union (EU) applied the General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as the GDPR. The GDPR does not only affect websites with the EU, but all websites that collect, process, and store data from EU residents. This law is a game changer, mostly because it puts structure and consequence to something important that has previously been taken lightly, and that is data privacy.

When information and data that should be kept private gets into the wrong hands, bad things could happen. There are many examples of what could go wrong if there is a data breach at a government agency, school, hospital, bank, or a major company.


Everything that we do requires us to have internet access and use our smartphone, like signing up for a website, sending an email, or simply searching for something on Google. All of these things create your digital footprint. A digital footprint gives a glance into a person’s online identity. Keep in mind that anything that you post online is permanent and will be recorded in some way, regardless of how many times you try to delete it. Gaining a positive online image is important for most people, mostly because universities and employers will look into the person’s online identity when considering them for college admission or giving them a job. Here are some reasons why data privacy should be important to you:

1.Safety – perhaps the most important reasons are the safety in data privacy. Cybercrime increases almost every year. Although online security measures are drastically improving, hackers are adapting to it, and they always find ways to create new ways in order to extract and gain access to data. These people may have a lot of reasons why they would attempt something like this, including stealing money or doing something illegal with the person’s identity.


2.Ensuring fairness of service – one reason to take care of your digital footprint is the fact that third parties can trace your footprint and use the information for commercial use. Besides collecting demographic information, social networks like Facebook collect information about people’s likes and dislikes in order to build a profile for you. Advertisers pay them to deliver targeted ads to people that fit the profile. While there is nothing wrong with them trying to optimize data in order to increase sales, it becomes a major problem when data is used to give an advantage in events that require unbiased decision-making, like the elections.

How to manage your digital footprint and protect your data


Here are some ways how you can protect your data:

1.Google yourself – although it sounds a bit egotistical if you Google yourself it can give you a basic idea of what others see when they search for your name. If there is anything that could ruin your online persona, you will be aware of it.

2.Keep track of all online accounts – after Googling yourself, you will have material to know how you can change your accounts or which account you might not need.

3.Use privacy settings – when you sign up for a new service, check the “settings” every so often to see what are the ways to protect your privacy and delete old data.


Apps like the InnerGroup Secure messaging app will provide you with the possibility of securely communicating with people. There will be no need to leave an email address or telephone number. All you will have to do is invite the person to a conversation and you will be safe and sound.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.