Data privacy


Data privacy

Data privacy refers to the protection of sensitive personal information from unauthorized access or misuse, ensuring that individuals maintain control over their own data.

What does Data privacy mean?

Data privacy refers to the protection of personal information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. It’s a fundamental human right that enables individuals to control the dissemination and safeguarding of their sensitive data. Data privacy entails the practices and regulations that govern the collection, processing, storage, and sharing of personal information, aiming to prevent its misuse, infringement, or unauthorized disclosure. By protecting personal information, data privacy safeguards individual autonomy, dignity, and prevents harm resulting from privacy breaches.

Key Principles of Data Privacy:

  • Consent: Individuals must provide explicit and informed consent before their personal information is collected and processed.
  • Notice: Individuals should be informed about the purposes of data collection, the parties involved, and their rights regarding their personal data.
  • Access: Individuals have the right to access and review their personal information, rectify inaccuracies, and request its deletion.
  • Security: Data controllers must implement robust security measures to safeguard personal data from unauthorized access or breaches.
  • Transparency: Data collection and processing processes should be transparent and accountable, allowing individuals to understand how their information is being handled.


Data privacy is crucial in technology today due to the vast amounts of personal data collected, stored, and processed by digital platforms and services.

  • E-Commerce: Online retailers collect personal information for transactions, marketing, and fraud prevention. Data privacy ensures that this data is used ethically and not shared without consent.
  • Social Media: Social media platforms gather extensive personal information. Data privacy regulations protect users from unauthorized data breaches and prevent misuse of their data for targeted advertising or discrimination.
  • Healthcare: Medical records contain Sensitive Information. Data privacy safeguards patient confidentiality and ensures the secure handling of health data.
  • Financial Services: Financial institutions process personal and financial data. Data privacy protects individuals from identity theft and fraud, ensuring the integrity of financial transactions.
  • Government: Governments collect personal information for administrative purposes, such as taxation and law enforcement. Data privacy laws ensure that this data is used responsibly and not abused for surveillance or discrimination.


The concept of data privacy emerged in the mid-20th century as a response to rapid advancements in information technology and data collection practices. Key milestones include:

  • 1960s: The Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108) became the first international treaty on data privacy.
  • 1970s: The United States passed the Privacy Act of 1974, giving individuals rights to access and amend their personal information held by government agencies.
  • 1980s: The European Union issued the Data Protection Directive, harmonizing data privacy laws across member states and establishing a high level of protection for personal data.
  • 1990s: Advances in the internet and e-commerce raised new challenges for data privacy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data.
  • 21st Century: The rapid proliferation of social media and mobile technologies amplified concerns about data privacy. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), implemented in 2018, significantly strengthened data privacy protections in the EU. Today, data privacy remains a critical concern as technology continues to evolve and new challenges arise.