Today we’re launching our Data Privacy Periodic Table – the first ever collection of the key “elements” of the data privacy world. As with the real periodic table, the elements are ordered into suitable categories, and it will be regularly updated as new elements come to light.
We have categorised the elements mimicking the traits of the categories in the original scientific version. For example, the far right of the original periodic table is reserved for the Noble gases – stable, inert and unreactive. This seemed an ideal match for the independent legislative or regulatory bodies. Similarly, the column dedicated to the Alkali metals on the far left, with their characteristic volatility, was a fitting location for the universal rights of the data subject, as if meddled with, both are likely to cause an explosion!
The table below sets out why we have categorised the elements as we have, and we have added some additional explanatory notes to explain our thinking for other elements’ inclusion and position underneath. We’d welcome any comments, or suggestions for new additions – contact me here for any recommendations or drop a comment below.
We also plan to release new updates of this table on a regular basis as the data privacy world changes.
NOTE: The below links to an updated version of the periodic table that was announced in a new post here. Read on to understand more about how we built the original version, and then visit this second post to see the changes we made in response to reader feedback.
Explanation of categories:
|Original Category||Examples||Characteristics||Data Privacy Category||Notes|
|Reactive non-metals||Carbon Nitrogen Hydrogen||Very common and the building blocks of all life||Fundamental principles of data protection||Without these, there could be no data privacy law|
|Noble gases||Helium Neon Argon||Inert, unreactive||Independent bodies||Impartial, neutral and objective – but also essential|
|Alkali metals||Lithium Sodium Potassium||Highly reactive||Universal rights of the data subject||Any meddling results in an explosion!|
|Alkaline earth metals||Magnesium Calcium Radium||Reactive||Lawful justifications for processing||Similarly combustible!|
|Transition metals||Iron Copper Nickel||Very common metals||Central components of data privacy||These are the building blocks of data privacy|
|Post-Transition metals||Lead Tin Aluminium||Common, softer metals||Core legislation||Vital to data privacy, but “soft” in that they require interpretation|
|Unknown||Copernicium Moscovium Tennessine||Under investigation and hoped to be better understood in the future||Future developments||This is the area that we will update the most frequently|
|Lanthanides||Cerium Neodymium Europium||Rare but very valuable||Traits and skills of the most reliable privacy advisors||They don’t occur in nature very often, but when they are found, they’re highly sought after|
|Actinides||Uranium Plutonium Lawrencium||All radioactive||Legislation whose powers and requirements can conflict with data privacy||Very dangerous elements that need careful handling|