Careers in Privacy

Have you Considered a Career in Privacy?

Careers in Privacy are here to stay! It is now clearer than ever that data collection and data use is only expanding. Thus, the way that this data is being accessed, used, analyzed, and perhaps even abused-intentionally or not- is also becoming a hot topic. Especially with the rise of electronic data collecting, storage and sharing, privacy and security issues have been arising in nearly every company, operating in almost every industry. This has been met with an extensive amount of privacy laws in many countries.

With so many regulations and compliance issues to be followed, many individuals are entering careers related to data privacy and data security through other career, perhaps more traditional career or academic paths, such as law, rather than through designated cyber-technological or privacy training. Others may enter these careers due to personal interest in protecting people or companies from harm — whether it be financial or reputation. It is without a doubt that privacy is an issue of profound societal importance and is becoming more essential to the business of almost any company.

Below we outline, just some of the many careers one can

Data Protection Officer or Team Member

Today, nearly every financial organization, government agency and healthcare association, and a growing number of mid-to-large size company, has at least one designated data protection officer, and this number is only growing. Likewise, more and more people are working within a team of people working with the Data Protection Officer or a similar professional.

Duties related to this area may include being either primarily or solely responsible for advising on all company activities related to privacy, confidentiality, and security implications. This may or may not also include monitoring services and systems to certify compliance with personal privacy legislation and government policies and practices. You likely will have to develop policies and procedures that ensure that all your company’s sponsored activities obey by all the applicable privacy and confidentiality legislation and requirements in your jurisdiction and align well with the requirements of those abroad if your business does international work (such as with the European Union).

Governmental Policy

Especially in Canada, the United States and Europe, privacy offices exist every level of government. Numerous of these governmental agencies continue to create policies or revise existing policies and regulations related to privacy. Moreover, many government agencies regulate privacy, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States or The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), among others.

Duties may include establishing departmental, federal, provincial or territorial, programs or strategy for the improvement of the management of personal or organizational information; and/or be responsible for monitoring adherence to this policy across various organizations and measuring the achievement of the expected results of the policies put in place in a variety of ways.

Privacy Law

Privacy law is another booming field. Adhering to privacy laws are complicated, as it often involves numerous very complex federal statutes and regulations. Privacy lawyers may often choose to specialize in a particular aspect of privacy such as focusing on financial privacy, employment privacy, European Union privacy, and electronic surveillance. As such, many companies may often rely on a team of privacy lawyers to cover all the privacy issues faced by their organization.

Duties from a privacy lawyer may include to provide legal advice on privacy, advise on restrictions on electronic data collection, communications and the use of tracking or profiling tools (such as cookies) and ensure the company is upholding the current applicable privacy and marketing laws and standards.

Course Instructor

With all the recent career advancements related to privacy, many will wish to undergo specific training. A course instructor trained in privacy, either through career experience or academic means, can help offer courses on privacy.

Duties for course instructors vary on the course, but may include providing a basic overview of the concepts of informational privacy and the Country’s privacy legislation. Courses may also wish to introduce students to differential privacy, and encourage them to move towards the frontier of modern privacy research. Essentially an instructor may help to empower future employees with the skills and knowledge needed for them to help protect businesses and the public against growing security risks and compliance missteps. Similarly, by educating current employees, course instructors are helping to reduce the likelihood that certain businesses will become a victim information security threats.

Software Developer

Especially with the increase in internet use and storage, the need for developing accurate, high-quality, innovative, and user-friendly data technology software that allows end users to comply with their privacy policy (or even to create their privacy policy) is increasing. Many privacy regulations necessitate that companies install and use an array of technical controls to protect customer information, whether they are being collected, stored or transmitted.

Typically, software developers must reconcile vague ideas with practical technological solutions and design, implement and test data managing (or other related) software that captures responses, stores personal data and helps to analyze or score results within a wide variety of software platforms.

Many software developers may also be self-employed and try to work with other organizations on developing industry-specific, or even company-specific tools, in a contract-like role. For example, a company may approach a software developer to develop an awareness program, a log management product to advanced threat correlation and analysis services within that organization. In this hypothetical example, the developer may be responsible for developing a software product that is able to handle the logging, correlation, and reporting needs of the company, as well as ad-hoc analysis and forensic investigation potential.

Privacy impacts all of our lives; especially now with personal data, whether it be socio-demographic information, or health records etc,  increasingly being used and stored in electronic form.  Ensure that the appropriate privacy, confidentiality, and security safeguards are necessary to prevent the unauthorized access, use, or disclosure (as much as possible). Thus, data privacy is an area that needs more professionals. We know posit that need for individuals working in privacy is going to continue to grow in 2017 and beyond. While the regulatory landscape for data and the career options for working in a privacy-related field may feel confusing, it is expanding. For those who are itching for a new career or those who feel that they are intrigued by the area of privacy and just want to learn more, data privacy positions offer much prosperity in terms of opportunity.