Privacy Ref Blog

My Mother Understands

Throughout my years in IT, product management, software development, and systems analysis, my Mother never understood what I do. It hasn’t been her fault, but mine; I couldn’t explain in “plain English” what I did. Since becoming a privacy professional she now understands. It may be not as good as being a doctor, but at least she can explain it to her friends.

“The Mother Test”

For years I have used what I call “The Mother Test”. If I needed to design a user interface I’d ask myself “could my mother use it?” If I was developing a presentation the question would be “would Mom understand this?” Sometimes I’d even subtly (usually without her knowing) test my approach with her.

I use “The Mother Test” because Mom usually represented many of the attributes of the audience I was trying to address. Generally, I was successful in getting Mom to understand…except for one area. I could never get the elevator pitch about my role right with Mom.

My son, the Privacy Pro

When privacy became my full time occupation I wondered how I would explain it to Mom. It was easier than I thought.

For the first time my occupation directly touched my Mother’s life. “Mom, you know how you share your name and address and credit card numbers to buy something on-line? Well, I help companies understand how to protect that information.” You could see the understanding as she listened to my explanation.  I may not be a doctor, but I am contributing to society.

Mom explained to me her perspective on the importance of keeping personal information private. Without knowing it, Mom explained the principle of Collection Limitation to me (“why do doctors keep asking for social security numbers?” is how she started).

And, yes, Mom can (finally) explain to her friends what I do for a living.

My mother, the Privacy Watchdog

Today, it is not unusual for Mom to give me a call to share how she has dealt with a call from “Microsoft” about the viruses on her computer. Or, when she is visiting us and takes the time to review her emails, for Mom to share the most recent phishing attempt she ignored. I have even overheard Mom discussing privacy topics with her friends.

Yes, I can say my Mother understands my work.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

  • author's avatar

    By: Bob Siegel

    Bob Siegel, the founder and President of Privacy Ref, Inc., has extensive professional experience in the development and improvement of privacy policies and procedures, the definition of performance metrics to evaluate privacy maturity, and the evaluation of compliance. He utilizes a combination of alignment, adaptability, and accountability strategies to guide organizations in achieving their privacy goals.

    He is a Fellow of Information Privacy and a Certified Information Privacy Professional, awarded from the International Association of Privacy Professionals, with concentrations in U.S. private-sector law (CIPP/US), European law (CIPP/E), and Canadian law (CIPP/C). He is also a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) and Privacy Technologist (CIPT).

    Siegel is a member of the IAPP faculty, has served on the Certification Advisory Board for the CIPM program the Publications Advisory Board.

    Siegel also writes the blog “Operational Privacy” on CIO.com

  • author's avatar

  • author's avatar

    Happy Data Privacy Day
    What is the difference between privacy and security?
    Human Errors Will Create Privacy Issues
    EU-US Privacy Shield is coming. Now what?
    Three privacy thoughts to start 2016

    See all this author’s posts

Privacy Ref provides consulting and assessment services to build and improve organizational privacy programs. For more information call Privacy Ref at (888) 470-1528 or email us at info@privacyref.com

Posted on May 4, 2016 by Bob Siegel
Tags:

« »

No Responses

Comments are closed.


« »

Subscribe to our mailing list

Please fill out the form below.

Required

Want to find out more?

Simply go to the contact page, fill out the form, and someone from Privacy Ref will be in touch with you. You can also send an email to info@privacyref.com or call (888) 470-1528.

News

May 10, 2017

Predictive Breach Cost Model
Download our predictive breach cost modelhere.

Latest Blog Posts

June 14, 2017

How Privacy Ref is getting GDPR Ready
The General Data Privacy Regulations, GDPR, are less than a year away.  Businesses around the world actively participating in the markets of the European Union are scrambling to comply with the new law.  We at Privacy Ref have been looking at how to best assess an organization’s readiness for compliance with the different articles of GDPR and have found an easy to understand way to meet this challenge. Continue reading this post...

June 7, 2017

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad phishing email
I recently received an email that I knew was a fishing email after five seconds of inspection.  It wasn’t anything flashy that gave it away, just a slew of telltale signs that it wasn’t an authentic message, but some malicious correspondence meant to take advantage of a less informed individual.  It can be broken down into a number of steps that show just how quickly you can identify a scam email. Continue reading this post...

Other Recent Posts

PRIVACY REF