Monday, 16 January 2012

50 things to do before a data protection professional dies (part 1)

When you die, how will your contribution to the data protection world be assessed?

I asked myself this question today as I passed this wooden bench (pictured), on the way to my local farmer’s market. The brass plate brought a smile: “In memory of Paul Eddington (1927 – 95). Much loved TV and stage actor and local resident.” He was widely known for his appearances in three of the most popular television comedies of the 1970s and 80s: The Good Life, Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister.

Other former neighbours include comedian Tommy Cooper , Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, but their contributions to society have not been marked with inscriptions on local benches.

I doubt that I’ll be remembered by an inscription on a local bench. But I’m not bothered. My name is carved into a flagstone on the floor of Shakespeare’s Globe, the theatre on London’s South Bank, to commemorate those who contributed to the building costs some 15 years ago. That’s enough for me.

But how should data protection professionals assess their careers? How can we decide whether we have lived our professional lives to the full, or whether it’s just been a bit of a joke? I’m submitting the first half of this 50 point checklist for your comment and approval - and of course I welcome your alternative suggestions.

1. Visit the ICO’s offices in Wilmslow
2. Be summoned to the ICO’s offices in Wilmslow
3. Have a quiet word with the Commissioner at his office in Millbank
4. Attend a Privacy Laws & Business conference in Cambridge (extra points for speaking)
5. Attend an ICO Data Protection Officer conference in Manchester (extra points for speaking)
6. Attend an IAPP congress (extra points for speaking)
7. Attend an international conference of Data Protection Commissioners (extra points for speaking)
8. Brief Ministry of Justice officials on a topical data protection problem
9. Challenge your own long-held interpretation of a bit of data protection law
10. Comment on a draft ICO code prior to its publication
11. Co-author some industry specific guidance on an aspect of DPA compliance
12. Dance the night away at a meeting of the Privacy Officers Supper Club
13. Deal with the aftermath of a high profile personal data breach
14. Discuss Larry Ponomon’s “cost of data breach” report with the great man himself
15. Disagree with an opinion expressed by the European Data Protection Supervisor
16. Draft layered privacy policies that people actually read
17. Find a way of disagreeing with Dr Chris Pounder on a point of data protection law
18. Get an IAPP privacy qualification
19. Get an ISEB data protection qualification
20. Get an honourable mention in an article published by “The Register”
21. Gracefully accept that a career in data protection will never lead to untold riches
22. Halt the progress of a silly data protection initiative without the people who are proposing it realising what you are doing
23. Implement an employee training and awareness programme that staff actually enjoy completing
24. Link your LinkedIn profile to that of at least 500 colleagues (extra points for links with data protection professionals from other continents)
25. Meet Mark Zuckerberg

The second half of the list will be published tomorrow.