From CLO to CPO: Celebrating the 3rd Annual Data Privacy Day

Where were you on January 28? It was a big day for Chief Location Officer, I took the day off to celebrate Data Privacy Day. OK, so it was a Saturday. But I did my part to raise awareness and promote data privacy education. And I got the official paper to prove it! A CIPP Certificate of Completion

Why would Chief Location Officer celebrate privacy? In today's mobile society, we are always on the move and always connected. We have agreed to a new evolution of commerce -- if Adam Smith and Charles Darwin had a baby theory together, they would call it Cambrian Explosion of the Invisible Hand. Every moment we trade bits of information about ourselves for free services and entertaining apps.   Think you haven't written a huge check to Facebook lately?  Think again.  On average we Americans spend over 54 billion minutes on it every month. That’s 8 hours a month for you, reader, during which your information, activities and popularity are paying for that "free" service.

This new economic contract only works when we are providing users with information, choices and controls around privacy.  And that’s why I studied all of last year and was ultimately accepted into the elite ranks of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), after passing several examinations to earn a Certified Information Privacy Professional accreditation. I am proud that I am the first mobile CEO to earn such a distinction. Now I can put CIPP on my business card. (I'm still waiting for endorsement solicitations from Nike and Allstate).

How are others celebrating data privacy in 2012? Over the past six months I’ve gotten many more calls from CEOs and mobile developers on the topic of location privacy. There is common concern in these discussions -- that “industry” needs to pull together to properly protect consumer privacy all while providing innovative new services consumers want.  Location and privacy is not just a mobile issue. Whether its smartphones or credit cards or FastTraks or connected toasters, we live in a cyber-society in which location data is ubiquitous. Our customers need to trust “industry”, for if they don’t, our customers will call upon the government to enforce such trust. Whether it is the recent Supreme Court Decision (United States v. Jones) for GPS trackers of the proposed bill from Ed Markey for a Mobile Device Privacy Act, those of us in “industry” need to celebrate privacy and get our collective act together to preempt crude if caring Acts from Congress.

Happy  Birthday Data Privacy Day.


You share January 28th with some of the best: Elijah Wood, Sarah McLachlan, Jackson Pollock, Saint Thomas Aquinas and the United States Coast Guard. Data Privacy Day at 3 years: glad to see you can now feed yourself, recognize sounds in your environment, and jump with both feet.