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What is the privacy impact assessment? (PIA)

Updated: Jan 31

The author  Silvia Piro  of the article:" What is the privacy impact assessment?(PIA)".

Author: Silvia Piro

Publication date: 17.10.2023

As technology has evolved, the privacy of one's data has become increasingly important to human beings. With the aim of reassuring people about this concern, states have taken action, in particular the European Union. For this reason, the PIA Privacy Impact Assessment was created.

What is the privacy impact assessment?

The PIA is a process that organizations and regulators use to thoroughly assess how a processing of personal data might affect people's privacy. This process is required by law, in particular by the EU General Data Protection Regulation. However, it can be used worldwide as a recommended practice to ensure the protection of personal data.

PIA: a  practice to ensure the protection of personal data.

Why did the privacy impact assessment come into being?

It was created to deal with the growing challenges of personal data privacy in the digital age. This way, it ensures that organizations adopt more responsible and systematic approaches to personal data management and respect existing privacy regulations.

How does the privacy impact assessment work?

This is how PIA typically works:

1. Identification of data processing

It is important to understand in detail what data will be processed and for what purposes.

2. Privacy risk assessment

A thorough analysis of the potential risks and threats to the privacy of the individuals involved.

3. Assessment of necessity and proportionality

It assesses whether the data processing is actually necessary for the intended purpose. Also, it checks whether there are alternatives to data processing that might be less


Why is PIA important?

1. The privacy of individuals

Main reason. PIA helps to identify and mitigate risks to the protection of personal data. It is essential to ensure that individuals' sensitive information is handled responsibly and is not exploited or disclosed inappropriately.

2. Legal compliance

In many jurisdictions such as, for example, the European Union, PIA is mandatory for certain categories of data processing.

3. Customer trust

Demonstrating a commitment to customer data privacy can increase a company's trust and reputation. Customers will be more inclined to do business with organizations that handle their data responsibly.

For a clearer grasp of the subject, here's a tangible illustration

If a hospital is implementing an online patient registration system, it will need to conduct an PIA to assess how patient data will be managed and protected. This process may reveal the need for data encryption, restricted access and advanced security measures to protect sensitive medical information.

Everything you should understand about Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

So, to sum up what we have learnt in this article:

● Privacy impact assessment is crucial for data privacy.

● PIA is mandatory in many jurisdictions.

● PIA offers business and trust benefits.

● PIA offers continuous evolution. As technology and privacy threats continue to evolve, PIA is not a static process. Organizations must stay current to remain compliant and abreast of new challenges.

the Privacy Impact Assessment is a crucial element in trusting relationship

Ultimately, the Privacy Impact Assessment is a crucial element in the responsible handling of personal data and in building trusting relationships with customers and stakeholders. Ensuring data privacy is not only a legal obligation, but also an essential business practice for long-term success and for the protection of individual privacy rights.


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