Over the past few years, we've helped more than 4,000,000 consumers to uncover their digital footprint, reduce their online exposure and aid them in getting ownership over their data by making privacy rights accessible to them. We are honored to allow so many people to exercise their privacy rights and regain their sense of control.
With the increasing amount of public awareness and regulations around data privacy, and although different laws apply to different companies, <hl>we see one thing repeatedly<hl>: An increased dedication from companies towards their users’ data privacy, with most companies complying with data deletion requests, even when no law requires them to do so.
This practice is not taken for granted. Data Protection Officers (DPOs), Chief Privacy Officers, Legal Counsels, Privacy Directors, and many others put a lot of effort into shaping their companies’ privacy policies and data protection practices with their consumers in mind.
And so, as the public awareness of data privacy rights is growing, <hl>it's finally time to give some credit for their hard work<hl>. How can we best acknowledge the key people involved?
After debating this question for quite a while, we realized something. What’s missing in the tech world is a place dedicated to honor top DPOs and be able to learn from what they are doing right. And so, we decided to make it happen.
We’re building a list of the most influential privacy experts that are shaping the future of data protection in the tech industry, and we would love to hear who your inspiration is and who you think should be part of this list.
Why are we creating this list?
At Mine, we aim to help the whole data privacy community by enabling consumers to manage their data online and help organizations streamline and automate their privacy operations, and better handle privacy requests. By doing this, we hope to bridge the gap between consumers and companies and create an accessible privacy rights experience for all.
Since the GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations have emerged, many DPOs and Chief Privacy Officers have been working hard to shape the future of data ownership in practice.
The “Top DPOs” list is meant to become the global directory of privacy professionals that will help them showcase their work, gain industry insight, expand their network and learn about the latest privacy trends. Many people and businesses can benefit from their insights and practices, and this knowledge should be available to all.
This initiative is part of Mine’s Privacy in Action project (PIA). A first of its kind, this project enables the public to evaluate the actions taken by companies when it comes to honoring their privacy rights. We hope this will allow consumers worldwide to be more educated and make informed choices.
The PIA index is based on the real-life experiences of hundreds of thousands of Mine users worldwide, that have sent millions of data privacy requests. This project also gives a stage to companies that stand out in their dedication to fulfilling data privacy requests.
The DPO list is meant to show what’s happening behind the scenes, with the people that actually make privacy real for consumers. If you work in the tech world and care about data privacy, you don’t want to miss out on this list.
How are we curating this list?
We want to make our selection process as transparent as possible, so here are the factors we use to choose the top DPOs:
- Remarkable Data Privacy Practices: Does the organization the DPO works at have a solid, comprehensive approach to data privacy? Is their approach embedded into the organization? Is there a technological aspect to it, such as AI or other tools, that provide a better data privacy experience? The DPOs featured on this list have invested in shaping remarkable data privacy practices and have created a culture and organization that focus on consumers.
- Innovation: Does the DPO have a unique mindset that is innovative, which others can learn from? Has the DPO set precedents, led organizations to improved data privacy, and influenced others in terms of ethics, security, or mindset? Is this innovative mindset shared on their social media channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn from time to time?
- Leadership: Is the DPO a pioneer? Does he or she have a unique idea, approach, or mindset?
- Performance: How is the DPO’s organization performing in terms of fulfilling data privacy requests? How much time does it take the organization, on average, to handle each request? (These criteria are based on data from Mine’s Privacy in Action project)
- Aspirations: Does the DPO show a desire to take his or her organization to the next level regarding data privacy?
- Regular speaking engagements: Is the DPO speaking regularly at events, podcasts, or publishing articles?
Finally, the experiences of the public will always be given the highest priority. The list will be based on the nominations of people from around the world.
We'll review this list regularly, and we welcome your feedback and suggestions.
How can I nominate a DPO to be featured on the list?
The “Top DPOs” list is determined by our editorial team. Do you know a DPO that’s worth mentioning? Please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a short explanation and links to their Twitter/LinkedIn profiles.
Please note that we also welcome submissions for remarkable Chief Privacy Officers, Chief Compliance Officers, and other similar roles. Your submission will be highly appreciated, as you’ll be taking part in shaping the future of data ownership!
You may see the list of the DPOs that were already chosen here.
The role of the DPO
Let's step back for a moment to understand the role of a DPO.
Using Google Trends, we can see that the role was not really around before 2014 (and interest grew when the GDPR came into force in May 2018).
Data Protection Officers are responsible for guiding an organization through the demands of data protection law, setting the compliance practices and guidelines, providing privacy design advice, and acting as the business' data protection conscience.
It is important that the DPO is independent and respected within the organization. If an organization decides to appoint a DPO in-house, it is important that they are given sufficient support and training to carry out their role.
The DPO should be involved in shaping both the culture of privacy and data protection within the organization and in advising on risk. They navigate a world of uncertainties, especially since the position was virtually non-existent ten years ago. And the world of data is constantly changing, with more things to consider than ever before, from regulations to breaches and other challenges.
According to the GDPR, organizations that monitor individuals on a large scale or process sensitive personal data on a large scale must appoint a DPO.
Since this role is obligatory in some cases, some DPOs choose to merely follow the law. The DPOs covered in this list are the opposite: They don’t only fulfill their legal obligations but also implement smart data privacy practices that prioritize consumer interests. For this reason, they are included in this list.
Instead of a DPO, some companies may have a Chief Privacy Officer (CPO; not to be confused with a Chief Product Officer). It is the role of the Chief Privacy Officer to ensure that an organization has an effective privacy program in place, and the Chief Privacy Officer and the Data Protection Officer are sometimes interchangeable.
What startups and big tech companies can learn from these DPOs?
Did you know that 87% of Americans view data privacy rights as a human right? A growing number of consumers are demanding ownership over their personal data because privacy regulations are expanding globally, providing them with data rights. And this trend isn’t going anywhere.
Even if privacy regulations don’t apply to you, you’d still want to invest in your users’ data privacy rights. The way you treat your customers in regards to their data privacy rights is key to business success. It affects your public image, as well as your trust — a study by Cisco found that most consumers trust companies that collect and use personal data responsibly.
The bottom line is clear: Investing in a better privacy experience is beneficial for you and your users alike. Even if your business does not have a Chief Privacy Officer, DPO, or any other similar role, you can learn from some tactics and practices implemented by top DPOs on our list — to do the right thing for your customers.
The privacy experts featured in this list can be your go-to-mentors as these influencers sometimes share invaluable insights on their social profiles. They can give any startup or business a better perspective about best data protection practices and help you adopt the same or revamp your existing strategies.