Over the past few months, I have been busy researching the topic of data protection for my e-learning course. As I am not subject matter expert (SME), I have been doing background research into the area. It was for this reason, that I found myself attending the “Data Protection – The Big Picture” at the Digital Hub in Dublin last week. It was a well-attended seminar focused on companies being ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is a piece of EU regulation which will come into force next May (2018) and will bring in major changes to data protection in the EU.
I was very taken by an expression “digital dust” which one of the speakers used when referring to personal data. I understood this to mean unstructured personal data. This led to a fascinating discussion about using personal data in this new regulatory environment: the challenge of getting informed consent from users; how to make consent more granular; personal data trapped in legacy pdf documents; tagging consent to elements of personal data and need for embedded explanations in consent form fields.
To me, this sounded like Technical Communication 101 and the importance of information developer skills in the process became very apparent. Throw in issues such as the ever-widening definition of what personal data is – IP addresses, location data and users browsing habits and it is clear that technical writers and learning technologists will need to be up to speed on changes in the regulatory environment and practices in data protection.
Digital Dust Part 2.
I googled the term digital dust and found that it is commonly used in a different context, that is the issue of digital property inheritance rights and I plan to examine that in a subsequent post.