Accountability in Privacy Management

Today the privacy trends analyzed and issues that most of the organizations or service providers face across industries and geographies is one thing noticed as a common theme among the trends that have emerged is Accountability.

As privacy management evolves — both in terms of improvements in effectiveness and the

growing complexity of the challenges — accountability is emerging as a fundamental component of handling personal information. In particular, regulators are looking to organizations to be more accountable for their actions.

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We are seeing this phenomenon across all ranges of the spectrum. On an individual organizational level, accountability is taking form in:

  • Establishment of Privacy office in the organization
  • Redefining the role of the privacy professional
  • Adopting Privacy by Design
  • Embracing the concept of BCR
  • Improving internal monitoring, including the use of data loss prevention (DLP) tools


At higher levels, governments are taking steps to regulate the use of personal information,

and industry groups are exploring self-regulation to stem the tide of increased government action. On the government side, in 2011 in the European Union (EU), the European Commission (EC) amended its Electronic Communication Directive to give consumers more control over their personal information. As part of its overall strategy to update EU data protection rules, the new EC directive requires EU member states to compel electronic publishers to get permission from users before tracking their online behavior through cookies.

To achieve greater accountability, many organizations will have to rethink their approach towards privacy within the context of their IT strategy. As organizations undertake IT transformations to upgrade and introduce new networks, systems and applications, privacy needs to be embedded as a fundamental pillar of the transformation process rather than an afterthought that is bolted on.

As regulators become increasingly interested in organizational accountability, now is not the time to wait for laws to dictate action on privacy. Laws may take years to implement but the consequences of a breach — or lack of accountability — can be immediate, visible and costly.

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Countries adopt stronger privacy regulations

As the need for better privacy management evolves, countries continue to adopt stronger regulations to address the growing risks and increased focus on the collection and use of personal information. Countries that have no privacy regulations are realizing the urgent need to address the issue. Countries with existing privacy regulations are updating laws in an attempt to keep pace with technological advances to address a rapidly changing landscape and emphasize accountability. Many of the countries that are adopting privacy regulations — in Asia and Latin America in particular — are competing for outsourcing jobs. In 2011, India, a sizable outsourcing destination, adopted new privacy rules. India’s Information Technology Rules 2011 impose significant limitations on how businesses can handle personal information. Under the new rules, organizations that collect personal information will be required to provide notice to the individuals from whom they are collecting it. The new rules also mandate organizations to take all reasonable steps available to secure personal information, offer a dispute resolution process when issues arise and publish or otherwise make privacy policies available. India’s privacy rules cover any personal information collected in India or transferred to the country. In 2012, we expect to see Singapore implement a new legal framework for consumer privacy protection that includes requiring informed consent from individuals for the disclosure and collection of personal information. In Latin America, countries that currently have data protection laws or are drafting them are mainly following the European data protection model. However, without an integrated regional legal system, such as that in the EU, the laws those countries are drafting

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