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Four Questions with Shana Gillers – TransUnion’s Chief Privacy Officer

Blog Post01/30/2020
Business Public Affairs
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In our uber-digital world, the subject of privacy and data security has never been more of a concern and focus. We sat down with Shana to hear her insights on attitudes surrounding the growing importance and demand of being vigilant data stewards.

Q: How does TransUnion ensure a commitment to consumer privacy and data protection permeates its culture?

A: Managing and safeguarding information with the utmost care is the single-most important thing we do at TransUnion. Without that, we lose people's trust. That’s why our commitment to consumer privacy and data protection is part of our DNA. We demonstrate this through TransUnion’s core philosophy and guiding principle — Information for Good® — which means the consumer data we gather and steward is used to create financial opportunities for people all over the world.

Our pledge to privacy begins at the top with our senior leadership and flows throughout the company. TransUnion associates recognize the importance of the work we’re doing with critical data assets and participate in ongoing training and compliance. We’re always striving to ensure we’re at the vanguard of consumer privacy and data protection trends. The manifestation of this commitment comes in several forms — ranging from continually advancing our information security practices to meaningful testing of our privacy controls to deep-engagement with all stakeholders interested in our privacy and data practices.

Q: With privacy and data protection top of mind for many consumers, how do you anticipate and address shifting norms, and evolving laws and regulations regarding privacy and data protection?

A: For the most part, today’s consumers see effective data protection as fundamental to any services they receive from data and information companies. Our global TransUnion team is committed to providing robust protection of our data assets while staying abreast of evolving regulations. We engage with policymakers, regulators and thought-leaders around the world in order to anticipate evolutions in data and privacy policies — while also providing valuable technical insights.

We put ourselves in the consumer’s shoes: We endeavor to protect a consumer’s information in the manner we want our own personal information protected.

We know people are striving to fully understand how information is used and how they can benefit from better understanding their own data. They want to be assured we’re gathering and holding their data securely and responsibly, and we need to present the most accurate data and offer ways to easily correct issues that may arise. We take all this into consideration as we innovate, always prioritizing safety in our means and methods.

Q: Do you see the availability of more data and rapidly developing new technologies as posing a challenge to protecting consumer privacy?

A: Consumer privacy remains at the forefront as we aim to constantly meet our mission of Information for Good. More data and new technologies can create opportunities for presenting consumers with new services and enhanced access to credit. And we’re always looking to serve consumers and our customers better. Importantly, more data resources for consumers also means greater consumer empowerment and understanding.

We continuously monitor our strategies, policies, tools and the data landscape in general to help ensure the proliferation of data and new technologies doesn’t add unnecessary stresses or burdens. Consumers enjoy benefits from sharing personal data — tailored, more seamless experiences, and products and services that satisfy their needs. The key lies in our ability to maintain value in those exchanges while protecting consumers. We use data in ways that put the consumer first and offer new opportunities for them to access critical financial products.

Q: Looking forward, what will the key trends be in the data privacy and security spaces over the short and medium term?

A: One of the reasons we’re heavily focused on the trend toward greater consumer control of data is because policymakers around the world are increasingly fixated on what the next generation of regulatory measures will look like. Whether it be the CCPA in the United States, GDPR in Europe, or multiple other initiatives currently in the works, we’re expecting a proliferation of new regulatory regimes in the coming years.

We’re working with policymakers to shape the contours of those measures, explaining how consumer data is currently used across a range of markets, what opportunities exist to better empower consumers, and what challenges exist going forward. At the same time, our solution development and client engagement teams are working diligently to understand the upcoming changes in the privacy and data governance areas so we can continue to offer agile, value-added solutions for all our customers.