On May 29, 2018, Bojana Bellamy published a letter on the importance and value of data protection officers (“DPOs”) on the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Privacy Perspectives blog, entitled A Letter to the Unsung Hero of the GDPR (the “Letter”). The Letter acknowledges the herculean efforts and boundless commitment DPOs and those in a similar role have demonstrated in preparing their organizations for the GDPR.
In the Letter, Bellamy recounts the immense number of tasks that DPOs have to engage in on a daily basis as part of the many different roles that they must play in balancing company data uses with data protection laws and customs. Among these tasks and roles, the Letter highlights that DPOs have to navigate vast and complex privacy laws and understand their organizations’ data usages and methods inside and out. They have to be able to communicate proficiently with technology teams and data scientists while being able to explain complex technical concepts to colleagues without a technological background. They must play the role of an ethicist to determine if a processing is fair and be a guardian of human rights, while also enabling innovation.
The Letter also serves as a thank you note to DPOs for their efforts, and credits them with being the catalyst for making data privacy more than just a compliance issue for many organizations, but also a key business and strategic issue. The Letter calls for DPOs to receive the recognition they deserve, not only from their respective organizations, but also from regulators, privacy activists, media and customers.
To read Bellamy’s full acknowledgment of data protection officers and their efforts, please see the full Letter.