Privacy a major concern for GCs

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Data security work is on the rise and more in-house legal teams are realising its importance, a new study has shown.
The survey, conducted by by TerraLex and Lander & Rogers, found that cybersecurity and data privacy is among the top three concerns for general counsel, increasing by 39 per cent from 2013.
According to Lander & Rogers partner Rob Neely, companies are unknowingly keeping personal data, putting their organisations at risk of breaching privacy protocols.  While many companies are implementing a position responsible for data security, many legal teams remain ill-equipped to deal with the fast paced development in technology and data collection.
“I think some enterprises might be surprised that information they hold is personal information and therefore subject to regulation,” he said.  “One of the traps is where a company holds different data sets and one by itself may be insufficient to identify an individual, but when matched with other data the company holds is capable of identifying the individual.”
Neely said the companies’ awareness of the issues is growing, particularly for consumer facing organisations.
“We’re at a point now I think where there’s more awareness about privacy and what information government and businesses hold about individuals. This was shown by the recent debate about metadata laws,” he said. “Companies also have an increasing awareness around their privacy obligations and I think companies feel that it’s a bit of a ticking bomb if they don’t manage it properly.” 
“This massive increase in the types and sources of personal data and the concern for maintaining privacy is a global trend, and certainly not something that is just limited to Australia,” he added.