In our data-centric global economy, businesses need to consider privacy and data protection as assets rather than simply compliance obligations. It has already been demonstrated that a strategic and accurate approach to data protection can generate a significant return on investment (ROI). With a research project currently running at ECPC Maastricht University, a group of academics, businesses and data protection- and intergovernmental stakeholders, studies ways to trigger virtuous data protection competition between companies by creating an environment that identifies and promotes data protection as an asset, which can be used to help companies to responsibly further their economic targets. This can be accomplished through the development of a new dimension of data protection that goes beyond legal compliance, transforming data protection into a new form of Corporate Social Responsibility (Data Protection as a Corporate Social Responsibility, DPCSR). Concrete, measurable and translatable guidance for organisations are being developed in order to answer the following questions, which will be discussed in the panel:
• What are the fundamental requirements of socially responsible data processing activities?
• How can companies reconstruct Data Protection into an effective CSR framework?
• What are the benefits for companies that embrace data protection as a CSR?