The Growth of Privacy; Day 21 –
It Matters – Reflections on 20 Days of Writing
FEBRUARY 26, 2020
Just over 20 working days ago I was challenged to engage of 20 days of writing around a theme.
I chose the theme of privacy and growth as I wished to explore the area in which I am now working, my growth to this point, its growth in the world.
To be honest, I have struggled to stick to the theme…
It is a regular problem of mine when I write, I start from a particular point, but where I end up does not feel like something I have direct control over. And whether the ground covered in the meantime remains relevant to the theme seems in many ways a matter of chance.
By its nature, writing constantly for 20 days is demanding, particularly in the context of a lot of other commitments. And, therefore, the writing has been very rough, first drafts, issued out into the world without any editing. This may seem slapdash, but it was necessary and it has merit. It creates momentum, there is no time to over-think, navel-gaze or obsessively polish; you must just write and publish. It was all a bit daunting to be honest but I’m glad I’ve reached the other end of the challenge with the work completed; though its quality is not something which I can vouch.
When I started this challenge I had my doubts; I still have doubts, I think I always will and that this is just part of the human condition. But I had particular doubts about what I was doing at this point in my life and whether the writing could benefit it in any way.
What I discovered in the process was that it mattered, the theme I had chosen mattered a great deal, privacy, and its related field of data protection, are among the defining issues of our modern era. Previously viewed by some as academic disciplines, and perhaps even first world problems, there is now a wider understanding of their fundamental importance both to consumers (or simply citizens) and the business who serve them.
I also discovered that this theme and the work that I do around it matters to me. It is work that is worth doing. I also realised that part of the challenge of the work is that not everyone understands it, its requirements and its relevance to them. Many are unconsciously incompetent and not even aware that they have a problem. The first task therefore is to raise awareness and understanding.
Part of what I was challenged to do as part of this writing exercise was to tell personal stories around a prompt that was provided each day. At times I really struggled to see how I might find a story in the first place and then bring it around to relevance to the theme. I did not always succeed in doing so though I think it was worthwhile trying all the same.
Apart from anything else, what this exercise highlighted for me is how much concepts like information technology, data, data protection and privacy have come to radically transform our lives and society in what seems to me to be the very short period of time of my own personal experience so far.
But one thing has not changed and never will, the human relationships at the centre of it all. Privacy and trust are essential to be able to create and maintain those relationships.
Our businesses depend on our relationships with our prospects, customers and clients for their very existence; and therefore respect for the data protection and privacy rights of those individuals is of fundamental importance.
Flor McCarthy is one of Ireland’s leading lawyers and a recognised expert in marketing. He has particular expertise and hands-on practical experience in privacy, data protection and GDPR issues for marketers. He is certified by the Law Society of Ireland in Data Protection Practice and lectures lawyers on data protection practice and compliance. He is managing partner of a multi-award-winning niche legal practice. He has been in private practice for over 20 years and has been elected by his peers to sit on the exclusive Council of the Law Society of Ireland, the governing body for Irish lawyers.
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