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Nov 7, 2016

Exploiting the privacy-infosec overlaps

We're working hard on the next NoticeBored awareness module concerning privacy, in particular we're exploring the changes coming with GDPR (the EU General Data Protection Regulation).  

Two concepts from article 23 of GDPR caught my beady eye this afternoon:

  • Privacy by design is the idea that privacy should be an integral or inherent part of the design of a new system, service or process, from the outset (as opposed to being tacked-on later, with all the compromises and drawbacks that normally entails); and
  • Privacy by default - where there are options or alternative paths, the ones offering the greatest privacy should be selected automatically unless the user or data subject explicitly chooses otherwise.  

It occurs to me that conceptually those are not a million miles from 'secure by design' and 'secure by default', two strategic approaches with substantial benefits for information security as a whole, including most of privacy ... which hints at the intriguing possibility of using the forthcoming GDPR implementation to drive improvements to both privacy and information security.

Several other obligations in GDPR are also directly relevant to information security, such as the ability for organizations to demonstrate or prove their compliance (implying an assurance element) and to ensure that all employees are aware of the privacy obligations.  In my opinion, privacy, information risk security, and compliance, substantially overlap as illustrated by the scope blobs above: the overlaps are not complete but the parts of privacy that do not involve information risk and security (e.g. 'personal space' and a person's right to determine how their personal information is used and disclosed), while important, are relatively minor.

Regards,