Unifying Privacy and Data Security

Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School
Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University School of Law and Khoury College of Computer Sciences; Center for Law, Information and Creativity (CLIC); Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society


This book chapter discusses the relationship between privacy and data security. Privacy is a key and underappreciated aspect of data security. Right now, there is a schism between privacy and security in companies. Privacy functions are commonly addressed by the compliance and legal departments, while security is handled by the information technology department. The two areas are commonly split apart and rarely speak to each other.

The chapter argues that we should bridge data security and privacy and make them go hand-in-hand in both law and policy. Strong privacy rules help create accountability for the collection, use, and dissemination of personal information and can reduce vulnerabilities and risk by minimizing the use and retention of personal information. Good privacy strengthens security. The chapter specifically focuses on the importance of data minimization and data mapping as privacy practices that have tremendous benefits for data security.

This piece is Chapter 7 of Daniel J. Solove and Woodrow Hartzog's book, BREACHED! WHY DATA SECURITY LAW FAILS AND HOW TO IMPROVE IT (Oxford University Press 2022). In the book, Professors Solove and Hartzog explore the shortcomings of data security law. They argue that the law fails because, ironically, it focuses too much on the breach itself.