New campaign to highlight public right to privacy

29 Oct 2004

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has undertaken an outdoor advertising campaign to raise public awareness of their rights and entitlements around how information about them is used, stored and shared.

The campaign is also intended to inform people that the DPC’s office is the appropriate point of contact for anyone who feels their privacy has been invaded or who is unsatisfied that personal information about them is held by others.

The €25,000 campaign, run by Viacom, is running for two weeks across DART and suburban rail carriages, train stations as well as inside and outside some buses. The advertising was centred mostly around Dublin although there was some regional coverage.

The DPC had previously used print media advertising but having received an increase in its budget for this year, decided to embark on a different approach. Earlier market research had shown that public awareness of the Office was low; even if someone felt their privacy was being violated, few knew which was the correct place to register a complaint.

Ann McCabe, administration manager with the Commission, said: “Data protection is one of those things that until it affects you, many people have little interest in and therefore they don’t know where to go. This [campaign] will hopefully tell them; they will know there’s a law, an office and a website.” She added that the campaign already appears to be successful, with many people reporting having seen the public adverts.

The DPC is also in the process of creating a video presentation, this time aimed at data controllers – organisations that retain and use personal information about individuals. The video, which is due for completion later this year, could be used by companies’ own training units. “We’re looking for something that will keep people interested,” said McCabe. “We won’t rush this, if it’s not a quality product, it’s no good to anyone. We want something that people are going to watch.”

Privacy image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Smith was a contributor to Silicon Republic