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What Is Data Privacy By Design?

by Amy Yeung, General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer, Lotame

Data privacy by design is more than a philosophy. It’s a framework for building technology intended to protect, identify and control data as it flows throughout a company. It’s a holistic approach to the entire data use process, from collection to when it exits into the ecosystem as a product. 

Certain data protection principles have inspired laws like the European Union and European Economic Area’s General Data Protection Regulation. Introduced in April 2016, this law has been in enforcement since May 2018. Additionally, data partners that conform to fundamental privacy principles outlined below can help your business maintain compliance and prepare for future regulations.

Data Privacy by Design Principles

These eight principles define how parties collect and use data, part of many global frameworks and more broadly embraced when incorporated into the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines in the 1970s. Together, they inform a company’s processes to mitigate data risks and establish user-focused protections from the concept of a product to its release.

  1. Collection limitation: Before data collection begins, what’s the minimal amount of information needed to form actionable insights? By minimizing the amount of data they gather, organizations can reduce the risk of breaching privacy laws. Additionally, users must have a clear choice to opt out of data collection.
  2. Data quality: Is data accurate? Focusing on data quality enables businesses to efficiently determine what information they truly need to drive results.
  3. Purpose specification: What’s the purpose of ingesting this data? Identify from the outset how data is being utilized to guarantee fair usage and productive outcomes.
  4. Use limitation: Is the information viable for specific targeting purposes? Businesses need a clear understanding of how data can be used throughout their operations, and specifying limitations shapes data practices.
  5. Security safeguards: In what ways is the data pseudonymized or anonymized, and what are its safest repositories? One example of this is checking how data has been anonymized, pseudonymized, and encrypted and evaluating operations and enterprise measures to minimize breach, leakage, or other unintended intrusions.
  6. Openness: Is the data available to all? Transparency is no longer a nice to have; it’s a necessity. Knowing a data segment inside and out supports businesses in leveraging it safely.
  7. Individual participation: Can individuals inquire about their data? What inquiries can be made about the data? Just as consumers need control over their information, companies also need a view of what data they use.
  8. Accountability: When asked, can a company identify what the data is, where it is, and ensure it can be amended or deleted?

Red Flags Regarding Data Privacy

Is your organization vetting a potential data partner? Tread carefully when you hear these sorts of statements about data privacy:

  • It’s just a principle. A trustworthy data partner builds data privacy into how the entire company operates.
  • Only some teams practice it. Data privacy is a product of cross-department collaboration.
  • They use it as an initial balancing test. Privacy is more than an assessment factor — it’s an ongoing process.

How Data Privacy By Design Builds Trust

By forcing companies to think through, debate, question and defend their data flows, data privacy by design creates transparency for consumers. This operational workflow demonstrates follow-through and a readiness to answer questions consistently about data use. That willingness builds trust.

Data privacy by design principles are more than an ideology — they guide tangible actions that all businesses can take to protect data privacy and establish end-to-end compliance.