Data Privacy Day: Why to Care and What to Do

On January 27, 2014, when the United States Congress adopted S. Res. 337, a nonbinding resolution expressing support for the designation of a “National Data Privacy Day” to be observed on January 28, there wasn’t a lot of time to get the word out, even though the event had been around awhile.

But that’s the date in which I first became aware of Data Privacy Day, and in the years since the bill’s passage, I’ve been thinking of ways to champion its existence.

January 28 was chosen because on that date back in 1981, the Council of Europe held the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. Luckily, they shortened the name a bit for the event. There they signed Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

Data Privacy Day began in the U.S. and Canada on January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The international event promotes awareness of privacy and data protection best practices. Recognized in the U.S., Canada and 27 European countries, Data Privacy Day’s educational initiative is to focus on raising awareness among users and businesses of the importance of protecting the privacy of their data online. This has become even more important as social networking has increased in popularity over the years, as have security breaches.

Data Privacy Day’s goal is to educate and empower businesses, consumers and families with the knowledge and best practices to better protect themselves from hackers, viruses and malware that can put their information as risk. Data Privacy Day brings together not just technology folks, but government officials, educators, those involved with nonprofits, as well as leaders from all industry sectors.

The National Cyber Security Alliance coordinates the promotion of Data Privacy Day activities. The agency’s goals are to:

  • Encourage consumers to consider the implications of their online actions for themselves and others on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Educate consumers to better understand how their personal information may be collected and the benefits and risks of sharing personal data.
  • Empower consumers to express their expectations for the use, protection and management of their personal data.
  • Educate consumers by sharing simple and actionable tips to more actively manage their own online footprints.
  • Encourage businesses to be better protectors of consumer information by being more transparent about how they collect, use and even share personal information.
  • Encourage businesses to better communicate any available privacy and security controls when dealing with consumer information.

So what can you do about data privacy? If the security of your data and privacy matters to you, Data Privacy Day is a great time to start actively protecting your info. Target, Sony and Lowe’s all learned the hard way. It’s in the best interest of every business to practice good data stewardship or they’ll be the next lead story on CNN or the next big headline in The New York Times. Whether it’s your bank, doctor, pharmacy or even workplace, encourage them to protect your data sufficiently. Don’t feel powerless to do so.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Socialize it. To protect your personal data, you don’t have to be afraid of social media. Tweet privacy tips. Post messages on your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. You can use the official Data Privacy Day hashtag #DPD15 and follow @DataPrivacyDay to stay up to date on all of the latest Data Privacy Day tips to share with your connections and followers.
  • Make it official. You can suggest your organization show its support of Data Privacy Day by becoming an official Data Privacy Day Champion. Last year, more than 220 organizations enrolled as Data Privacy Day Champions. It’s quick and easy to sign up.
  • Make it personal. Data privacy starts at home, so make sure your loved ones know the risks to their personal information, especially children and teenagers who may be more likely to overshare on social media channels. Secure your information if you have a shared accounts on your PC, tablets or smart TVs that are connected to multimedia outlets like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and iTunes.

Related Courses
Cybersecurity Foundations
Legal Issues in Information Security
Cyber Security Compliance & Mobility Course (CSCMC)

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