The Importance of Privacy Impact Assessments

Privacy impact assessment (PIA) is considered a key component in an organisation’s privacy program. Privacy impact assessments are internal documents designed to assess the privacy protections within the organisation. Privacy impact assessments also help warrant organisations are able to effectively safeguard the personal identifiable information of its customers.

PIAs are also conducted by organisations that have access to a huge amount of both sensitive and private data. The organisation is expected to audit their own procedures and assess how the procedures they have in place can affect or compromise the privacy of individuals as well as how the organisation collects, holds, and processes data.

What are the benefits of privacy impact assessments?

Fortunately, nowadays, privacy impact assessments are easier to carry out thanks to beneficial privacy management and data protection tools like DPOinBox. There are several benefits organisations that conduct privacy impact assessments stand to gain. Some of the remarkable benefits include:

  • It can provide a system that can help warn organisations early when privacy is breached so they can set and implement safeguards and avoid any privacy issues in the future.
  • It can help ensure any detrimental or costly privacy blunders are kept at bay.
  • It can help provide the needed evidence to show the organisation has set a protection against any possible privacy breaches. What this does is significantly reduce any negative publicity, liability, and damage to reputation.
  • It can help enhance decision-making processes as well as procedures.
  • It can help aid the organisation in terms of gaining the trust and confidence of the public.
  • It can help demonstrate to customers, citizens, contractors, as well as the organisation’s own employees that their privacy is taken seriously.

What are the inquiries that are addressed in a PIA?

Below are some of the inquiries that are addressed in a privacy impact assessment:

  • How information are collected
  • What information are collected
  • Reason information is collected
  • The intended use of the information
  • The scope of information usage
  • With whom information will be shared
  • What opportunities or notices people have to decline to provide information
  • How collected information is secured
  • The information’s retention schedule

What are the 4 steps in a privacy impact assessment?

Initiation of Project

This is where the range of the privacy impact assessment process is defined. Understandably this can vary from one organisation to another.

Data Flow Analysis

This involves the mapping out of the suggested business procedure pertaining to private personal information. This also involved the creation of a diagram that will visually display how information will flow through the organisation.

Privacy Analysis

All employees that are exposed to any private information are required to complete privacy analysis questionnaires and to discuss any issues regarding confidential and privacy information.

Privacy Impact Assessment

This is where a documented assessment of the risks that are related to private information is developed. This is also when possible implications of possible risks are identified. This is also the part where a procedure that addresses the prevention of potential privacy leaks or breaches are created.

Why are privacy impact assessments carried out?

Some of the goals privacy impact assessments accomplish include the following:

  • Assess protections and identify alternative procedures to minimise likely privacy risks.
  • Establish any effects and risks of organisational procedures in place.
  • Establish conformity of required policies, and legal and regulatory procedures needed for privacy.

Privacy impact assessments also lead to privacy impact reports. Said report is created to provide data regarding key components of proposed procedures that are created to deal with huge amounts of personal and private information. Privacy impact reports are also created to ensure any privacy risks are managed in the most effective manner possible.


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