Welcome to our video series, innovators in Privacy Tech! At our global user conference in London, PrivacyTECH, we interviewed the best and the brightest minds in the privacy industry for their insights on everything from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the future of privacy, how to achieve sustainability in your privacy program and more.

Today we have Kasey Chappelle, Data protection Officer at GoCardless. GoCardless is a next generation payments company. They make it cheap and easy for anyone to take payments online using the Direct Debit infrastructure.

Job of the Privacy Expert

Chappelle notes that companies of every size are going to come to the realization that not everyone can be a privacy expert, and when you do have privacy experts in the company, it’s their job to upscale everyone around them. She explains that the way you do that is by being out there, talking about privacy in ways that are relevant to the people you work with. Talking about interesting cases and using the resources you have within the company to spread knowledge in a way that’s meaningful to the people you interact with. Every time Chappelle sees an interesting story in the news, every time she sees a movie that has privacy as its theme, she shares it with the people that she works with. Chappelle is talking about privacy in a way that gets other people excited too. It gets them thinking about how these things matter to them in their day to day. She continues on to note that until you get employees to start thinking about how privacy matters, they’re not going to make the right decisions, they’re not going to know when to come to you (the privacy expert) with their questions.

“That’s how you create good privacy programs within a company, when everybody knows why it matters and they know how to get the support they need and they’re coming to you with their questions or just the interesting things they see because they know that it matters.”

Keep it Simple

The One thing that Chappelle advises for those that are starting or growing a privacy program is to keep it simple. Chappelle goes on to note that she worked at eBay during a period of time where they had some phenomenal product developers there, and they had a principle that she has embedded in everything she does. It was a principle called every pixel fights for it’s life. She notes that people with legal backgrounds tend to complicate things, and that’s not a criticism, obviously things like data protection are based on a legal framework, but if we think about keeping it simple, it’s hard to go wrong. Privacy is an externality for most people in life, and by that she means it’s not their day job. She explains that it doesn’t really matter what kind of evangelism she does, what kind of engagement or training or how much of that she does, at the end of the day privacy is going to be something else she is asking people to do, and if she can’t keep it as easy as possible for them to do that, it’s not going to get done. Chappelle aims to keep everything that she builds, every program she creates, every interface, both inside the company and outside the company as simple as possible, because that’s how you get to the outcomes that you need to achieve.

“If we think about keeping it simple, it’s hard to go wrong.”

Privacy as a Competitive Advantage

According to Chappelle, the almost holy grail for any privacy expert at a company is to be able to say that at their company privacy is their competitive advantage. Chappelle explains that you don’t get there automatically, you get there by spreading the word within the company about why privacy matters to them. She notes that if you can build that kind of relationship with your sales teams, with your support teams, and certainly with your senior executives, to where they’re thinking about the way that privacy builds their relationships with customers of any kind, then that’s how you develop privacy as a competitive advantage within your company. Chappelle continues on discussing how most recently she has worked for B2B companies, and in B2B companies it’s really easy to build that relationship, to build that expectation, because it’s not just coming from her, it’s coming from their clients constantly, especially with GDPR. This has given her a huge toolkit because every single one of their customers is coming to them and they’re saying show me your program, show me the evidence that you’re compliant, show me the evidence that you’r going to help me be compliant, that you’re not going to cause problems for me. The more that they ask us that question, the easier it gets for her to tell everyone that they have the answers, it’s an enviable position for them to be in for any privacy expert.

“The holy grail for any privacy expert at a company is to be able to say that at their company privacy is their competitive advantage.”