Influential Women in Privacy: Didem Kalaycıoğlu Birol

Welcome to our video interview series: Privacy Leaders! We interview the best and the brightest minds in the privacy space to get their insights on all things privacy and regulation including the infamous EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the future of privacy, how to automate your privacy program and more.

Today, in honour of International Women’s Day, we have Didem Kalaycıoğlu Birol, Data Protection Officer (DPO) at Turkcell.

Read on to see Didem’s insights and advice, or if you prefer video you can watch the highlights video below.

How has the GDPR influenced the Privacy landscape?

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the most demanding and comprehensive privacy regulations of all time.

One of its distinguishing features is that noncomplying entities can face bigger fines, the maximum of 20 million Euros or 4% of the total worldwide annual revenue.

In my view, the GDPR has changed the game for all businesses around the world and undoubtedly led to a greater public consciousness about the value and the useage area of the personal data.

From a business perspective, GDPR is about compliance, but it also forces businesses to “become more aware of the importance of data protection.”

While its effects are specifically for Europe, GDPR is a complete guide for the whole world to set standards for data protection globally. It is being used as a blueprint for other countries as they develop their own privacy laws.

Also people outside Europe have benefited from the GDPR’s privacy protections because companies realized that it didn’t make sense to maintain separate privacy policies and procedures based on the user’s country of residence.

Why is privacy the place to be for women in tech?

Privacy is a discipline that’s constantly evolving, making it an increasingly attractive option for women looking to enter a new, fast-paced profession.

It’s a profession with tremendous growth opportunity.

Under the (GDPR) requirements, there are even larger opportunity for women to find jobs in the data privacy sector.

A privacy professional must interpret and understand legal and regulatory language, posses strong communications skills, provides risk analysis and strategic direction as well as manage cross-function teams.

In my opinion the analytical and complex thinking capacity of women demonstrate the skills and strengths needed to be successful privacy professionals.

Women privacy professionals tend to fairly assess potential risk effectively, emphasize with the rights and feelings of their customers, communicate with regulators, data protection agencies, and government organizations.

How does a typical day in the life of a privacy Professional look like?

My typical working day starts early in the morning with a quick check of emails. Then I take calls with my team.

Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) and GDPR has been an incredibly important priority for my company and takes much of my time.

I and my team are responsible for preparing/revising contracts on privacy issues, preparing privacy policies for our products, creating training programmes, working with IT and other related teams in order to ensure best measures against breaches, responding to data subject request processes, creating internal policies, overseeing consultancy processes. So, no one day is the same. One day, I may find myself working with IT evaluating on breach notification processes, while another day, I may be providing guidance to teams developing new products and services in compliance with the laws.

There are lots of topics that keeps me alert and busy!

What is the best way to build a career in Privacy? What advice do you have for women interested in a career in Privacy?

I recommend taking courses in information privacy law, learning about the field and the different laws and regulations.

Keeping up-to-date about decisions, regulations and updates will be valuable for their own development.

Going to conferences and meeting people is a great way to learn about opportunities and you can deepen your knowledge of the issues as well.

What are your top tips for success?

  1. Work hard and improve yourself continuously.
  2. Follow the Privacy & Legislation developments around the world very closely.

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