Data and privacy professionals: unite!

By Frank van Vonderen

Not infrequently, I see battles between data scientists and privacy professionals within organizations. And in these conflicts, the struggle isn't over traditional causes like land, religion, or honor, but rather over data minimization (how much data is needed), storage (how long to retain data), and legal basis (is this even permissible). With heated discussions, smokescreens, and rear-guard debates, they engage in combat. But in battles, there are rarely winners. Not in this fight either.

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It's not surprising that these conflicts arise: after all, both are new fields, and just like on the school playground, territories need to be marked out. And at first glance, it might seem that the territory of data encroaches on the territory of privacy.

Seems. Because as both fields mature, upon closer examination, it's not really the case. In fact, both professional groups share the same core values. Both are heavily reliant on the quality of data in three ways: accuracy, timeliness, and completeness. Granted, the privacy pro mainly focuses on personal data, while the data pro looks at all data, but the core values are the same.

With clients, we're increasingly working on projects that intersect data and privacy. And gradually, I'm observing that privacy and data teams are beginning to understand, appreciate, and collaborate better.

Of course, from a data perspective, there's sometimes a need to experiment, which may push the boundaries of privacy legislation. And from a privacy standpoint, it's crucial to have a solid legal foundation and to be transparent. Something that doesn't immediately come to mind when you're seeking correlations as a data scientist.

However, it's the accuracy, timeliness, and completeness of the data that unite these fields. So, at the very least, the discussions revolve around getting the right data!"

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More information?

Contact Frank van Vonderen.

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