January 28 is Privacy Day and that's why it should matter to you as an automation team





January 28th is Privacy Day. And contrary to what you may think, its first inception was not 2018 (the year the European Union General Data Protection Regulation came into play), but 2007. YouTube and Google Analytics had only been around for about 2 years, and Facebook was just getting started with their advertising platform. 

2023: the year of privacy

Fast forward to 2023. Experts seem to converge towards one statement: 2023 will be the year of Privacy.

On the one hand, multiple countries and US states are launching new privacy laws (Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut) others are updating theirs (California’s CCPA evolving into what’s now known as the CPRA).

On the other, third-party cookies (not the chocolate flavored ones) are about to be wiped out of existence, data subjects have an increased understanding of their rights, complaints are on the rise, and data protection authorities (DPAs) are fining away.

Privacy by Design principles for automation

As an automation team you create a ton of value for your business, and most of the value you create involves processing data. And who says data processing almost inevitably says personal data processing, which is synonym with data protection, privacy, compliance, data subject requests and… trouble if automations that process personally identifiable information (PII) aren’t surrounded by the right governance.

Privacy Day is a good opportunity to step back and have a look at the governance around your automation program, and ensure it meets the requirements set out by current privacy regulations, and can evolve easily to continue to comply with an ever-evolving privacy landscape.

I wrote a complete guide to processing PII with RPA to help you use automation responsibly when it comes to processing personal data. It recaps key data protection concepts to be familiar with and provides more detailed and concrete tips to help you build Privacy by Design principles into your automation program and ensure that nothing is left to chance (or forgetfulness) across three chapters: 

  • Know before you go
  • Developing a Privacy by Design governance model for automation
  • Building privacy into process development and controlling 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and for you to share your own best practices with your fellow community members in the comments.