Explaining “Privacy Attorney”

privacy wutPeople often ask me what I do as an attorney (disclaimer….I do not take clients, I work for a company). When I say I’,m a privacy attorney, the reactions range from polite confusion to complete incomprehension to vague niceties.

My typical response is “Here in the US, you hear about HIPAA HIPAA HIPAA and patients patients patients, right? In all other countries with privacy laws, you don’t have protection because you’re a patient, but because you’re a person.”

It’s a much bigger deal.

Privacy is something that we have lost in this digital world. We need to reclaim our privacy.

The most ¬†movement in personal data protection law is coming out of the European Union, but privacy (data protection) laws are prevalent in Asia-Pacific, Canada, and Latin America. And the level of protection varies greatly – from protecting only employee data, to everyone’s personal data, to online, mobile, financial, etc.

If you are an individual, pay attention to what you share online and how you maintain the security of your data (don’t write your passwords down on a post-it note and stick it to your computer and don’t email ID and credit cards without encryption…and that include efax). If you’re a business, pay attention to what data you collect, whether you need to collect it, how you use it, share it, and secure it – and for goodness sake, know how you long you retain it and DESTROY it.

That’s what a privacy attorney does. In a very small yet profound nutshell.

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