Five reasons to become a privacy champion

Privacy champions help deliver organisational change and create a culture of continuous privacy compliance. But what’s in it for you?

By Nigel Jones

Co Founder of The Privacy Compliance Hub

July 2022

Runner crosses the finish line

With more data being collected by enterprises than ever before – a recent study found UK web users’ data is shared 462 times per day – and more decisions being taken at pace, it’s imperative that there is a group of trained individuals asking the question – “what does that mean for privacy?” 

Privacy champions are at the heart of every organisation that takes privacy seriously. They’re the eyes and ears of the lead individual charged with ensuring data protection compliance, spread throughout every business function. They’re the motivators and enablers, sharing what they’ve learned about why privacy matters and encouraging others to follow their lead. 

It’s a big job, but it’s one that can enrich careers too. Here are five reasons to join your organisation’s privacy champion network:  

1. It shows you have integrity

Has your manager asked you to become a privacy champion? That’s quite the compliment! Privacy champions need to have high professional ethics, integrity, and the ability to communicate effectively at all levels of the organisation. Privacy champions are highly trusted and respected by colleagues and managers alike; they are the “go-to” people when it comes to implementing key policies and procedures. 

2. It’s good for your CV

Privacy is fast becoming a real competitive differentiator for companies – just ask Apple, which has made privacy the focus of its latest advertising campaign. That’s partly because the public’s awareness of and concern about privacy issues continues to increase. As a privacy champion, you’ll be trained to keep up with all of the regulations, practices and issues around implementing a culture of continuous privacy compliance. That’s incredibly useful in terms of professional development and gives you something to talk passionately about at your next job interview. 

3. You’ll get real insight into how your organisation works

Privacy champions work as a team across departments as varied as finance, sales and marketing, HR, customer service, product development and operations. But they play a key role in determining where personal information is held within an organisation, how it’s used, whether it’s needed, how it’s secured, who it’s shared with and more. This insight is used to create a data inventory as part of a privacy programme but also provides a valuable overview into how a business operates. 

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4. You’ll be noticed at an executive level

Forward-thinking business leaders really care about privacy – taking it seriously is good for business because customers and investors care about it too. That means privacy is increasingly discussed at the top table and as a privacy champion, you’re likely to be part of those conversations, even if you’re not there in person. You’ll be collecting feedback about the programme from the trenches and presenting it back to the core privacy team, identifying key resistors and assisting with managing reluctance to change among your colleagues. Who knows where impressing the senior management team will lead?

5. You’re playing your part in creating a better world

The right to privacy is a basic human right and it’s one that must be protected. It’s absurd that some technology companies can learn everything about us and go on to sell that data to others that use it to make decisions about whether we get a loan, a house, insurance, or a job. It’s not about having something to hide, it’s about laying the groundwork to prevent a dystopian future. We need to build well in the first instance, rather than surge forward and ask questions later. Because privacy isn’t about numbers on a spreadsheet or charts on a screen. It’s about people. And once progress on privacy has been undone, it will be almost impossible to get it back.

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