So every 28th January is Data Protection Day…but you would be forgiven for thinking “So what?” “What is ‘Data Protection Day’?” Or “What is ‘Privacy Day’?” as it’s sometimes known.

And “why is it important?”

If you don’t consider yourself as being in the data protection (DP) world, maybe it looks like 28th January, or Data Protection Day, is just an excuse for the DP world to geek out about the intricacies and foundations of DP law.

(Not that we ever need an excuse to geek out! 😜)

Other people have explained on LinkedIn the reason for Data Protection Day and why it’s on 28th January, much more articulately than I could – DPO Daily and Stephenson Law amongst others – but I just want to explain why I believe data protection is so important.

Today, and every day, I’m passionate about protecting data, because at its core it’s about protecting PEOPLE.

If we don’t handle information about people with respect, how can we say we’re treating the people themselves with respect?

If we want the people we work with and for to trust us, we must let them know they can trust us with their precious personal data. And by that I mean, of course, that we must actually be able to keep their data safe, not just tell people what we think they want to hear.

Keeping data safe, protected, and treated with respect is so much more than keeping it in a secure server or locked in a filing cabinet; it’s about being clear why we want the data in the first place (and that reason being for a fair and lawful purpose!), being open and transparent, and only collecting, using, sharing and storing the minimum amount of data we actually need for those (fair and lawful!) purposes.

I’m on a mission to explain this to as many “non-DP” folks as possible, so if you’re reading this, please help me have a particularly happy #DataProtectionDay by helping spread this message:

Data Protection = People Protection!

The very first Article in the GDPR itself explains that:

This Regulation protects fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and in particular their right to the protection of personal data.

Data protection rights are human rights, and I know that the people I work with care about human rights (I don’t tend to work with people if they don’t!).

If your work involves knowing anything whatsoever about your customers, clients or colleagues, you’re in the data world, and should be protecting that data too, even if you don’t think of yourself as being in the data protection world.

It’s not really a them-and-us situation – we’re all handling personal data, it’s just some know a bit more about the DP laws than others. Let’s work together so that everyone handling data knows how to protect that data.

Housing Associations

If you're providing a range of services to tenants and shared-owners, and you need to know more about the specific data risks that your work carries, and how to manage your data protection obligations, click here for social-housing based advice, in our trademark clear and practical style.

Small Businesses

If you're a one (wo)man show, a contractor, a freelancer, a sole trader, self-employed, an owner or director of a company of just a few people, an owner-operator, or any other way you describe your small but mighty business, click here for clear and practical advice about the essentials you need for good data protection, without details you don't need to worry about.

Values-led Organisations

If your heart is firmly in the right place but you're a little confused about your data protection obligations and risks, as a values-led business or charity, click here for advice that will help you understand what you need and make sure you have a robust, fit-for-purpose data protection framework.

To find out when our blog posts are published, and read them first, subscribe to our emails here. You’ll also receive a free data protection health check template to help you assess where you are with your data protection, and what you need to focus on.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about data protection, and how we can help, book a free call!

Image of Clare Paterson - Caucasian female with long brown hair and wearing glasses

Author: Clare Paterson, CP Data Protection director

Clare draws on over 20 years of experience in risk management and quality assurance, including ten years in data protection, to provide clear and practical advice and training.

Don’t tell everyone (shh!) but Clare’s favourite sector is social housing, having worked in a large housing association for 12 years, although she loves to support all values-led organisations.