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Data privacy

Visualisation systems are based on data as it is the data that has information embedded in it that is conveyed or from which insight is obtained. Visualisations therefore also have to adhere to the ethics and standards concerning data. The EU Data Protection Principles are presented below.

They are based on the Fair Information Regulations, like most other data regulation policies. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Privacy Principles 2016 are the basis of most frameworks around the globe for privacy and data protection laws.

They are closely aligned with the EU principles and the European Commission (EC) Data Protection Directive (Directive 95/46/EC). These frameworks address privacy, which is a fundamental human right enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The following are the EU Data Protection Principles outlined in the EU Guide to data protection (ICO, 2018):

  1. Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
  2. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless: (a) at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met, and (b) in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.
  3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which it is processed.
  4. Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  5. Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
  6. Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.
  7. Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
  8. Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.

The OECD (2016) Privacy Principles:

There should be limits to the collection of personal data, and any such data should be obtained by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the data subject.

Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which it is to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete and kept up to date.

The purposes for which personal data is collected should be specified not later than at the time of data collection and the subsequent use limited to the fulfilment of those purposes or such others as are not incompatible with those purposes and as are specified on each occasion of change of purpose.

Personal data should not be disclosed, made available or otherwise used for purposes other than those specified in accordance with Paragraph 9, except: a) with the consent of the data subject; or b) by the authority of law.

Personal data should be protected by reasonable security safeguards against such risks as loss or unauthorised access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure of data.

There should be a general policy of openness about developments, practices and policies with respect to personal data. Means should be readily available for establishing the existence and nature of personal data and the main purposes of its use, as well as the identity and usual residence of the data controller.

An individual should have the right: a) to obtain from a data controller, or otherwise, confirmation of whether or not the data controller has data relating to them b) to have communicated to them data relating to them:

  • within a reasonable time
  • at a charge, if any, that is not excessive
  • in a reasonable manner
  • in a form that is readily intelligible to them c) to be given reasons if a request made under subparagraphs (a) and (b) is denied, and to be able to challenge such denial d) to challenge data relating to them and if the challenge is successful, to have the data erased, rectified, completed or amended

A data controller should be accountable for complying with measures that give effect to the principles stated above.

Dean et al. (2016) compiled a table of frameworks (see Table 10.2) on data protection, comprising the following:

There are other international standards that pertain to privacy, such as the ISO/IEC 29100 privacy standards. The table highlights the key features of the principles of the different frameworks, as well as the common features of the frameworks. The ethos of the principles is essentially the same. They attempt to protect personal information while addressing legitimate use of the information.

The frameworks recognise that privacy is important but not absolute because there are other important countervailing interests. For instance, many services can only be provided when personal information is known.

Table 10.2: Existing legislative and regulatory frameworks: common concepts (Dean et al., 2016)
Malaysia UK EU Directives Safe Harbour OECD Federal Trade Comission Common Concepts
Processing principle Fair and legal processing Prior permission to store and access personal data Guarantee of data integrity Collection limitation principle Notice awareness Notice and awareness that information is being collected and used
Notice and choice principle Maintain rights of data subject Notice and choice Notice and individual choice   Notice and awareness  
Security principle Technical and organisational security protection Confidentiality and security principle   Security principle Security Sensitive information must be kept securely via technical and managerial means
Notice and choice principle Information should be adequate, relevant and not excessive Information should be accurate, relevant and not excessive Information should be accurate, relevant and complete Data quality principle and openness principle Choice consent Consumers have a choice to provide or not to provide information and must consent to sharing or use of information
Retention principle Retained with regard to timeliness Retained with regard to timeliness     Integrity Information should only be accurate, relevant, complete and time-appropriate
Data integrity principle Maintain rights of data subject Respect rights of subject   Purpose satisfaction principle Integrity Information should only be utilised for the purposes for which it was requested and/or approved
Access principle   Right of access Right of access Individual participation principle Access and participation Access should be granted to the data subject to check for/ correct mistakes, incompleteness and timeliness of data
Disclosure principle Sharing limitations   Onward transfer principle Use limitation principle   Only data-subject-approved sharing of data should be allowed
  Specific legal purposes   Enforcement Accountability principle Enforcement Data should be legally and socially accountable for failures