The principle of integrity and confidentiality is one of the most important aspects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs the way in which personal data is collected, processed, and stored. This principle requires that personal data is processed in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction, or damage, using appropriate technical or organizational measures.
The importance of this principle cannot be overstated. Personal data is a valuable asset and can be used for a variety of purposes, from marketing and advertising to identity theft and fraud. Therefore, it is essential that organizations take steps to protect personal data and ensure that it is used only for the purposes for which it was collected.
- One way in which organizations can protect personal data is through the use of encryption. Encryption involves the use of complex algorithms to scramble data so that it is unreadable without the use of a decryption key. This ensures that even if personal data is intercepted, it cannot be read or used for nefarious purposes.
- Another way in which organizations can protect personal data is through the use of access controls. Access controls involve the use of authentication mechanisms, such as usernames and passwords, to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to personal data. This helps to prevent unauthorized access and reduces the risk of data breaches.
- Organizations can also protect personal data by implementing robust policies and procedures around the handling and storage of data. For example, they may require that all personal data is stored on encrypted devices or that it is only accessible through secure networks. They may also require that all employees undergo regular training on data protection and security best practices.
“Integrity and confidentiality are the cornerstones of data protection. Without them, personal data is vulnerable to misuse, abuse, and theft.” – Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.
Integrity and confidentiality example
Examples of the importance of the integrity and confidentiality principle can be seen in recent high-profile data breaches. In 2017, Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, suffered a data breach that exposed the personal data of over 140 million individuals. The breach was attributed to a failure to patch a known vulnerability in their systems, which allowed hackers to gain access to sensitive data. This breach was a clear violation of the integrity and confidentiality principle of the GDPR, and resulted in Equifax being fined $575 million by the US Federal Trade Commission.
Similarly, in 2018, Facebook suffered a data breach that exposed the personal data of up to 87 million users to a political consulting firm. The breach was attributed to a vulnerability in Facebook’s API that allowed third-party developers to access personal data without the users’ knowledge or consent. This breach was also a clear violation of the integrity and confidentiality principle of the GDPR and resulted in Facebook being fined €110 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission.