Data Minimization

Safeguarding Personal Information

When the European Union passed the regulations to control people’s online personal information, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) came up with so many changes. Data minimization is one of the key things mentioned in the regulations.

What is Data Minimization?

When collecting any data you must collect only the necessary information required for that purpose. You need to ensure that you are not collecting more information than is necessary or required. The information needs to be relevant to the purpose, adequate, and relevant. For example, if you only need the e-mail and name of a person in order to access a service, trying to obtain more information, such as their address or credit card information is in violation of the GDPR policy.

As a service provider, you need to ensure that you have put in place structures that will allow you to collect specific information. Even though it’s not clearly stated what type of information is relevant, you need to establish a sound data collection policy. You should have good reasons for asking for specific data.

Why Data Minimization is Important

Data is getting easier to collect, but it also comes at a price. When you gather more information, you need to ensure that the data is securely stored. With too much information in your hands, a data breach can be catastrophic when it happens. The personally identifiable information that you hold and is not necessary can bring you more harm than good. Since hackers are always finding new and creative ways to steal personal information, you need to collect the least amount of information possible. That way, in case of a security data breach, you don’t lose too much of the customer data.

Implementing Data Minimization in Your Organization

If you want to make sure that the data you are collecting is relevant, you can ask yourself how you’re going to use the data. If you’re going to use the user’s information to create a personal profile, ask yourself which data is important for that service. If it’s for a medical service, their gender may be more relevant than their religion or ethnicity. Another important question that you need to ask yourself as you collect this data is who will be allowed to access such information.

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