With big personal data leaks in the headlines (e.g. Target, Experian, and Facebook, to name a few) and new legislations, including General Data Protection Regulation in the EU coming online this month, privacy is a word we hear kicked around almost daily. While digesting the sorted details of the data breaches reported in the media, rarely do we stop to think about the meaning of the term behind all of that. Privacy generally relates to all activities involved in protection of Personal Data. What is personal data? How does it affect me? Let’s start with a definition. We tend to think we know what the term means, but when pressed to define it, most of us will have a hard time coming up with a definition that is both concise and sufficiently encompassing. Let me help. For practical, everyday use the definition of personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (i.e. living). The identifiable natural person is defined as one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, using a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity. In other words, any information allowing a person to be identified is in fact considered personal data.
Here at Varex, we collect, process, store, and transfer personal information of our employees, customers, and suppliers. What is a practical business implication of that? As a business organization we are subject to privacy and data protection laws in all countries where we do business. A loss, even accidental, of personal data may adversely affect a company’s brand and reputation, not to mention potential regulatory and legal implications.
So what are we doing about this? In the last six months you may have noticed some initiatives we have undertaken in order to ensure appropriate protection of personal data. Among other things, we have been working on improving our internal controls, mapping the data flow through the organization to identify areas of improvement, aligning different functions with overlapping responsibilities for data protection, and making sure we store and transfer the data in a manner that is fully compliant with all applicable laws.
In the upcoming months, Varex customers will see increased movement in data protection and be invited to help in this effort. Stay tuned for information directly relating to GDPR in the next few days and how this will affect you as a customer.
If you have questions relating to data privacy, submit them here: [email protected].