The Centre for Information Policy Leadership provides the following thoughts on the Obama Administration’s views on privacy:
The themes of President Obama’s inaugural address not only conveyed a strong message to the nation, but reflected current concerns about data governance shared by privacy professionals and policymakers as well. His speech captured the importance of individual responsibility in public and personal life as America faces challenging economic times. In demanding accountability from government, he required that the nation’s work be conducted “in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” Obama’s remarks about the potent values of responsibility and accountability apply in the information-intensive world of business.
A company’s responsible use of data is key to maintaining the trust of customers and the public. Technologies and business models that collect, use and analyze data emerge and change at a rate that outpaces the development of any law or policy. While compliance with law remains fundamental, it may not suffice when a company uses information in a way that is unexpected or offends its customers. A company fosters trust through more than compliance — it does so by setting goals for protecting the privacy and security of data that reflect the appropriate expectations of companies and their customers — and then working to ensure those goals are met. An accountable company takes the further step to demonstrate its responsible practices.
The White House website calls this out explicitly in its technology agenda:
Safeguard our Right to Privacy: Strengthen privacy protections for the digital age and harness the power of technology to hold government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy.
The work of privacy professionals to explore the role of responsibility and accountability in protecting privacy has never been more timely.