Data Privacy Day: A day to recognize data protection and security awareness

Published: January 28, 2013 by Michael Bruemmer

Today’s digital world has enabled us to enjoy and take advantage of all that the internet and digital communications have to offer, however, in our progressively connected society, the benefits also come with risks.

In the United States, identity theft is the largest type of consumer fraud affecting more than 11 million people annually*. Online data breaches and online identity theft are the two most popular forms of identity fraud and their numbers keep rising.  Therefore, in order to generate awareness and promote best practices about data protection, January 28th is now annually recognized as Data Privacy Day in the United States, Canada and 127 European countries.  The movement is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit, public private partnership focused on cyber security education.  Data Privacy Day was first established in the United States and Canada in 2008 in partnership with Data Protection Day in Europe.  The Day commemorates the signing of Convention 108 in 1981, which is the first official international treaty about issues surrounding data privacy and cyber security.

With this year’s official theme of “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust,” the goal of Data Privacy Day is to empower people to protect the privacy of their online presence and become good digital citizens by controlling their digital footprint and making data protection and security a priority. Since data flows freely in the digital world, consumers and corporations alike need to be aware of their responsibility in handling personal and private data while constantly being proactive about protecting it.

In recognition of Data Privacy Day 2013, Microsoft commissioned a survey to examine people’s perceptions and expectations regarding online privacy and protection.  The study showed that although privacy is important to people and they want their personal data to be protected, unfortunately only 4 in 10 said they ‘mostly’ or ‘totally understand’ how to protect themselves online.  For businesses, Data Privacy Day is a good opportunity for companies to go over social media usage policies with their employees as well as remind them to take necessary precautions with personal and business information online.

More and more people are recognizing that data privacy is one of the most important issues to address as we evolve into a more digital-centric society.  To take one day out of the year to educate, advocate and promote data privacy is insuring that our data future remains safe and secure.

Here is a list of Data Privacy Day events around the U.S.

*Javelin Strategy & Research, 2011 Identity Fraud Survey Report