Data privacy courses to upskill for our digital era

As data privacy grows in importance, gaining some foundational knowledge in the field can prove useful for professionals across industries.

By U2B Staff 

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The digital age has sparked growing concern for many technology users over how their data is being used by companies. For instance, are users of social platforms and apps risking their data privacy by simply using technology?

From a consumer perspective, Netflix’s documentary The Social Dilemma explores the negative impacts of social networking; tech experts highlight how social media can negatively affect our mental health and subtly manipulate users to spend more time on social platforms.

Earlier this year, much hoopla arose over WhatsApp’s privacy policies — concerns were rife that the messaging app would pass users’ personal data to Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, over an updated privacy policy that would come into effect on February 8. This prompted many to migrate to Signal and Telegram, even though WhatsApp later clarified that this isn’t true.



Whether from a consumer or business standpoint, data protection is everyone’s business. 

Organisations want to secure their data, be it industry secrets to customer data, to avoid lawsuits and fines, in addition to losing their business value, if personal information lands in the wrong hands.

Consumers want their personal information, be it medical history to their banking details, secured to avoid sinister activities like identity theft or expensive purchases being made in their names from taking place. 

For those interested to learn more about data protection, below are some courses to suit a range of interests:

The fundamentals

Are you new to data protection and would like an introduction to what it entails? Platforms such as edX and Coursera offer a host of data protection-related courses on their platforms. 

On Coursera, Data Privacy Fundamentals introduces data privacy to a wide audience and helps each participant see how data privacy has evolved as a compelling concern to public and private organisations as well as individuals. The course reviews theories of data privacy as well as data privacy in the context of social media and artificial intelligence.


Data privacy law

If you’re interested in the legal aspects of data protection, there are many courses at your disposal, be it by universities to MOOCs such as Coursera.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), for instance, offers its Data: Law, Policy and Regulation, an online six-week certification course that will prepare learners with the skills to navigate and critically analyse the changing legal environment that is shaping data law and policy.

Students will gain insight into the challenges that digitisation poses for the legal environment and learn to critically assess topical case studies and current data regulations, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), among others.

Data privacy and surveillance

Curious about data protection in the context of surveillance?

edX offers Wiretaps to Big Data: Privacy and Surveillance in the Age of Interconnection, a six-week course that exposes learners a motley of things, including the basic function of cellular telephone networks, WiFi, and other networking technologies; the evolution of privacy rights through the US constitution’s 4th amendment, particularly as applied to content and context surveillance; as well as the types of cryptography used to secure wired and wireless networks.

At the end of the day, data privacy is expected to grow in importance as businesses migrate online, and as awareness grows among consumers over the safety of their data. In a similar vein, gaining some foundational knowledge in the field can prove useful for professionals across industries.