Data minimisation is a core principle in data protection frameworks across the globe, including the Digital Personal Data Protection Act,2023, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, and many others. This write up highlights the best practices that have been adopted worldwide for minimizing data collection, storage, and usage, with the aim to inform businesses, policymakers, and consumers on how to effectively implement and benefit from data minimisation strategies.
The cornerstone of data minimisation is to collect only the data needed to achieve the specified objective. Businesses are encouraged to continually review their data collection forms and methods to ensure they are not asking for irrelevant or excessive information.
Retaining data indefinitely is considered poor practice. Companies should set and clearly state data retention timelines, after which the data should be either anonymised or securely deleted.
Regular audits of data storage and usage can identify outdated or unnecessary data, which can then be removed. It ensures that data minimization is not a one-time activity but a continuous process.
Minimum Necessary Rule: Under HIPAA, healthcare providers must make reasonable efforts to use, disclose, and request only the minimum amount of information needed for a particular purpose.
Know Your Customer (KYC): Financial institutions practice data minimisation by collecting only the required information for compliance with regulations like Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering Financing of Terrorism (CFT).
Step-by-Step Information Collection: Information is collected in stages, and only when needed, such as shipping information only being requested at the time of purchase.
Data minimisation is not just a regulatory requirement but a principle that can bring about operational efficiency and build customer trust. Companies worldwide are integrating data minimisation principles into their business practices, evolving in response to both technological advancements and legislative changes.
Adoption of these best practices can offer a competitive edge and also significantly reduce the risk of data breaches and associated penalties.
The following recommendations need to be adopted in your organisation so that
By adopting these worldwide best practices, organisations can position themselves as responsible stewards of customer data, thereby gaining trust and reducing both operational and compliance risks.
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