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  • 14 Aug 2011 17:37 | Deleted user
    Data protection in the digital age – why should you care?
    By Monika Kuschewsky, Partner and Head of Data Protection Practice, Van Bael & Bellis


    Mrs.  Monika Kuschewsky- Partner and Head of Data Protection Practice, Van Bael & Bellis

    Are you a member of a social networking site? Do you have a loyalty card? Are you paying by credit card? Are you shopping online? These are just a few examples in your daily life when you are sharing personal data with others, such as your e-mail address, birth date or credit card data.

    But do you really have control over your personal data? Do you know who has access to your personal data? Do you know how others are using your personal data? And what about those photos of yourself that a friend of you has posted on the internet without telling you?

    There has been a lot of public outcry about recent press reports over the ability of smartphones to track your location. But in addition to geolocation tracking, many people are not aware that smartphones keep logs of calls, any messages or e-mails sent and that this information is often stored in an insecure manner and for a long time, typically without the users’ knowledge. And people are even less conscious about the fact that they leave a lot of traces behind when they act in the digital world.

    As to whether this is an issue depends partly on your attitude. Some people say they do not care and voluntarily disclose a lot of information about themselves on the internet. However, more often than not, this attitude is based on a false feeling of privacy. Indeed, only few people realise that all the information posted about them on the internet, taken together, can be used to build very detailed profiles with very intimate details about their private life and personality.

    And there are many who are interested in personal information, including service providers and marketers. Personal data sell. Some even describe personal data as the currency of the internet.

    Moreover, once the data get out of control or fall into the wrong hands you may have a problem. A lot of people get concerned when they learn that their personal data have been hacked. Certain photos or other information may harm your private (e.g., relationships) and professional life (e.g., recruitment and career), foreclose you from certain services (such as bank credits or insurances) or even lead to identity theft, sexual harassment or cyber-bullying. In some cases it may affect your safety. For instance, it can be detrimental if the whereabouts of women’s shelters and the presence of particular women therein become known. Burglars may be very interested in your address, photos of your house or apartment and the date you leave on holiday.

    Businesses should care about data protection as well. Although the internet and other new technologies offer many opportunities, as in the area of behavioural advertising, businesses must beware of the risks, such as personal data breaches and legal pitfalls.

    Staying away from it all, however, is not an option for most people and is becoming more and more difficult in the digital age. Moreover, most people want to avail themselves of new services and products, which offer a lot of advantages.

    Of course, in principle you are protected by the law and in particular the data protection laws set certain limits as to what others can do with your personal data. Also, you have certain rights under data protection laws, such as the right to access your personal data, to rectify them and to have them deleted. However, these rules and rights often reach their limit when it comes to the internet, where a lot of things happen which are invisible to the user and where the responsible persons may be based outside of the European Union. These shortcomings are one of the reasons why the European Commission is currently reviewing the existing data protection legal framework with a view to strengthening the rights of individuals. However, given the global nature of the internet it remains difficult to see how individuals’ effective control over their data can ever be guaranteed outside of Europe, at least until the adoption by all countries of some international standards on data protection.

    Rather than waiting for the legislator to act, people should therefore protect themselves. You should understand what happens when you surf the internet or use other technologies, and you should be aware of what these technologies can do and of the possible consequences of using them. Remember that you leave traces behind whenever you surf the internet. Think twice before posting something on the internet and consider what information to disclose. Be selective in the websites you visit. Read the small print before signing up. Be wary of registration forms, services or websites that require a lot of personal information. Be wary of strangers in chats. Think twice before clicking on a link or downloading a file or programme. Protect your devices by taking appropriate technical security measures. Do not disclose your passwords. It may also be worthwhile to check regularly what information bustles about you on the internet. Certain service providers offer to check the internet for defamatory entries and to remove them, which may, however, not always be possible. If for instance a photo about you has been posted without your permission you may ask the person who has posted it to remove it. In some cases you may need to turn to the website owner or operator of the service. In the worst case scenario you may need to go to a competent authority or get legal assistance.

    Although absolute protection does not exist, there are certain safeguards that everybody can take and being aware of the risks is already a big step in the right direction.

    Monika Kuschewsky

     Short Biography
    Monika Kuschewsky is a partner at Van Bael & Bellis, a leading independent law firm headquartered in Brussels.
    Monika heads the firm’s European data protection law practice and is supported by an international team of lawyers from more than 15 different countries. She is a qualified as a company data protection officer (Betrieblicher Datenschutzbeauftragter (GDDcert.)) and has extensive experience managing pan-European data protection law projects and audits for multinationals and small and medium-sized companies established in Asia, Europe and the USA. Monika develops and implements tailor-made compliance programmes and regularly provides data protection law training to clients. She also represents clients before the national data protection authorities in Europe and oversees multi-jurisdictional filings.
    Monika advises on all questions of data protection law with a particular focus on international data transfers, outsourcing and HR as well as on data security and other data protection issues, which are relevant to global companies, such as outsourcing and cloud computing. She constantly provides hands-on practical advice regarding the challenges for data protection compliance raised by new technologies and practices, such as social networks, RFID, biometrics and behavioural advertising. Monika regularly publishes articles on data protection law and speaks at conferences.
    Monika is a qualified German lawyer. She obtained an LL.M. in Legal Studies from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. Monika is a member of the editorial board of PDP’s Privacy & Data Protection Journal as well as of several associations of privacy professionals.
    Monika Kuschewsky
    Van Bael & Bellis
    165 Avenue Louise
    B-1050 Brussels
    Tel. + 32.2.6477350
    Fax + 32.2.6406499

    Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Van Bael & Bellis, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.

  • 05 Apr 2011 02:22 | Deleted user

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    “Women Leaders – damned if they do, damned if they don’t”
    By Adriana Paun, Founder & CEO of theTop Executive Agency Brussels

    Mrs. Adrian Paun- Founder & CEO of the Top Executive Agency Brussels.

    In the current web of intense economic upheaval and stark political change, the need for talented, visionary women leaders has never been greater. Questions regarding the management of employees as well as objectives, competition and new technologies throw in sharp perspective the very ways in which we identify leadership skills in ourselves and in others. Indeed, it is as indispensible and desirable to recognise the value of good leadership as it is to evaluate financial and quarterly results, simply because the two are inextricably connected.

    We are accustomed to regard leadership as a function of management, often tied to position or job description, rather than as a state of being. Yet in my sixteen years as a Human Resources director, I have had the pleasure of working with, interviewing and assessing hundreds of professionals (including executives, HIPOs – high potential employees - and senior employees, both male and female) whose leadership abilities and charisma often transcended their professional role. What’s more, meeting with these individuals over the course of their careers, I was amazed at their evolution as team members and colleagues. Their success frequently depended on their ability to understand issues facing their industry, to develop a vision and to inspire others. Not only did I notice this learning curve developing outside of the professionally-assigned position they held in their respective jobs, but their success also appeared unconnected to their personality or degree of confidence. Contrary to popular belief, leadership is neither inborn nor assigned, it is learned.

    Of course, looking at the Indira Ghandis and Benazir Bhuttos of this world, it can seem hard to believe that their commanding presence is the subject of study or reflection. Too many people are convinced that being a leader is something that comes naturally or not at all; some people have it and some don’t. It’s all or nothing. Certainly there are very few people who have natural talent and who are able to display leadership qualities easier than others, but most of us learn by doing, by experiencing in everyday situations or by observing other leaders and adopting their behaviors. Most importantly, we develop our leadership styles by acknowledging that we each have our own individual approach to leadership when thrust into positions demanding that we take charge.
    The task could be easier were we not bombarded with widespread misconceptions about women leaders and the dynamics that constantly beleaguer their approach to people management. For example:

    Myth 1: Women's Leadership style is nurturing and caring

    Quite often, we hear that women can’t be good leaders because they are not tough enough and take decisions emotionally rather than rationally. As stereotypes go, this assumption is not only baseless, but also the wrong way of looking at leadership in general. Any leader, male or female, must constantly be aware of and nurture growing talent in their teams, remain mindful of their customer’s needs and maintain a good relationship with suppliers. Whether or not women leaders tend to achieve this goal in a softer way than men is irrelevant, as long as the objective is accomplished.

    Myth 2: With their leadership style, women have fewer chances of succeeding as leaders

    Accepting that female leadership is different does not imply that it is less effective. Listening to different points of view, displaying empathy and being practical is often a desired but hard to find depiction of leadership, together with effective decision-making and direction setting. However, women have fewer chances of succeeding not because of their style, but because of the barriers they have to overcome, both socially and historically. Departing from the pit lane, professional women must frequently fight to overcome the gap created following the completion of academic studies until they are deemed relevant for leadership jobs.

    Myth 3: Women focus on practical things and lack vision

    Like perfectionists and multitasking virtuosos, pragmatic women are often victims of their own success. Indeed, whether their leadership approach is successful or not, they are often considered to be lacking in vision simply because they choose to captain their ship in a more concrete fashion than male colleagues. Alternatively, women leaders who prefer to formulate their ideas in a creative way are sometimes faulted for failing to provide solid direction for their teams. As the saying goes, women seem damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Much has been written on the subject of contrasting management styles, but it is worth reiterating that attempting a hierarchy of leadership traits is an enterprise as likely to succeed as Sisyphus and his boulder. A better use of such energy would be in recognising that expressing one’s vision in innovative ways neither diminishes its relevance nor reduces its reach.

    More than an understanding of management techniques, succeeding in today’s uncertain professional landscape requires a sturdy grasp of leadership skills and the ways in which they can be developed. The absence of a blueprint makes such tasks both daunting and time-consuming, yet the first and most important step is in recognising that leadership skills are not cultivated in a vacuum. Through effective contact with other team members and an open mind, the emerging generations of adaptable, discerning and strategy-minded women leaders may soon surpass misinterpretation and witlessness to establish themselves as visionary trendsetters in their own right.


    Adriana holds a Master’s degree in Electric Engineering and an American EMBA . She worked for 7 years in R&D as Researcher before starting her career in HR management.

    Adriana Paun has more than 18 years of experience in HR management positions, both at operational and corporate level, in different international companies and countries, in different industries: telecom, aviation, manufacturing and industrial services. For 5 years she was HR Director at Mobistar in Brussels, Belgium, a BEL 20 company. She held the Corporate HR Vice-president for International Mobility position at France Telecom in Paris. Adriana was in charge with Executive Recruitment at Schindler NV.

    She followed several training programs on Leadership, Communication and Influencing across organizations and she is active in HR consulting, executive coaching and mentoring.

    For the last 2 years, she has been an entrepreneur having started her HR consulting firm and is the Founder & CEO of the Top Executive Agency Brussels, an organization that supports international executives in career transition. Elected in the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Belgium for 3 years in a row by Trends Magazine. She is fluent in English, French and Romanian, with basic knowledge of Dutch.

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

  • 03 Apr 2011 02:25 | Deleted user

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    “The Mentor”. Leading by example and ethic
    by Susan W.E.N., NGO representative

    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou

    When I started working I was a strong shy type. Strong because I knew I could do it, shy because I needed a nudge and some encouragement to see I could fly. I had a boss who took the time to see my potential, support me and guide me. She taught me how to be professional, reminded me that my personal values define who I am at all times – you don’t leave them outside when you walk into your work place and pick them up when you walk out, and she reinforced in me that your word is your honour. She showed that everyone in any level of any organisation deserves respect, that no work or task is above or below me. She did all this by living and practicing it every day.
    I worked in a team of people that worked well together – we didn’t necessarily like each other but we respected each other. That was the culture that my Mentor brought to all of us. It took leaving that team and working in different teams to realise how much time, effort and openness of character it took for her to be that kind of person. 

    There are tons of books about leadership – true leadership – sometimes they call it servant leadership. Doesn’t really matter what you call it. If I could try and define what it is I learned from my Mentor’s leadership – it’s bringing out the best of someone as a human being, then the professional stuff; after the humanness that comes anyway.

    So now when I find myself in her situation – working with people that I supervise,  I realize that I have EXTREMELY big shoes to fill. But when I think about how much my mentor gave to me towards helping me become me, I put my feet in those big shoes, cross my fingers and strive to give the best of me to others to bring out the best in them. The thing is, helping others to be the best that they can be, helps me be better too. I don’t and won’t always succeed but I won’t stop striving either.


     Mother Theresa Tree Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person – Mother Theresa 


    Susan W.E.N., NGO representative, has worked in the corporate sector in Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) and communications in Europe, Asia and emerging markets regions for about 10 years. Today, she continues to work in CSR as part of an NGO organization based in Brussels.

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  • 02 Sep 2010 16:49 | Armelle Loghmanian


    By Author





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    Short Biography

    Name is tbios


    Disclaimer -    
    Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of <company name>, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.
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