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Does data protection give you the "PIP" - February 2009

Does data protection give you the “PIP”

To celebrate European Data Protection Day last month (don’t tell me you missed it!) the Information Commissioner’s Office urged organisations to take a new privacy pledge by signing the Personal Information Promise (PIP)*.

Critics may suggest that signing up means nothing more than “peace in our time” for processors of personal data whose names are confidently displayed on the ICO’s site. After all, the promise has no legal status and the text appears merely to reiterate the eight data protection principles in not so many words.

A closer look shows that signing a PIP actually commits an organisation to do more than the minimum and puts the emphasis on consumer trust, openness and information value. Now this is language much closer to the world of marketing than to the impenetrable clauses of data protection law; the PIP could easily be used as a litany of good direct marketing practice for novices of the craft.

The ICO Annual Track Research shows just how concerned individuals have become about use of their data. Only by proving that your organisation is a trusted data controller can you expect to stem the seemingly inexorable growth of opt-out and the loss of valuable permissions.

So maybe taking – and living by – the Personal Information Promise will , in the future, become a commercial necessity as well as a PR exercise.


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