Why You Should Care About Data Privacy Day

by John Mark Ivey
Data privacy day

Back on January 27, 2014, when the U.S. 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 each year, there wasn’t a lot of time to get the word out.

Even though the national day had been around awhile since 2008, that date in 2014 was the first time I became aware of Data Privacy Day. In the years since the bill’s passage, I’ve been a champion of personal data privacy as well as data privacy at work.

Why the 28th of January? Turns out on that date 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 national day and signed Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

Data Privacy Day began in the U.S. and parts of Canada during January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Now recognized in the U.S., Canada and throughout much of Europe, 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. As social networking has increased in popularity as have security breaches over the years, data privacy has never been of greater importance – at home and at work.

Led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the international Data Privacy Day campaign promotes awareness of privacy and data protection best practices. The NCSA is advised by an elite advisory committee of privacy experts from around the world to keep the campaign aligned with current privacy issues.

Data Privacy Day’s goal is to educate and empower businesses, consumers and families about best practices to better protect themselves from hackers, viruses and malware that can put their information as risk. Data Privacy Day brings together not only technology professionals but also educators, government officials, those involved with nonprofits and leaders across a diverse set of industry sectors.

The NCSA coordinates the promotion of Data Privacy Day activities and suggests these activities to help promote Data Privacy Day:

  • Socialize it. To protect your personal data, you don’t have to be afraid of social media. You can help the cause by tweeting privacy tips and posting messages on your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Be sure to use the official Data Privacy Day hashtag #PrivacyAware and follow @StaySafeOnline on Twitter 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 500 organizations enrolled as Data Privacy Day Champions. It’s quick and easy to sign up. By becoming a Data Privacy Day Champion, you and your organization both represent those dedicated to empowering individuals and encouraging businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust. From AFCEA, the Better Business Bureau, and Cigna to the University of Buffalo and State of Wyoming, the list of Data Privacy Day Champions is diverse.
  • Make it personal. Data privacy starts at your home, so make sure your loved ones know the risks to their personal information, especially teenagers who may be more likely to overshare their personal info on social media channels. 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, secure your information.
  • Take the time. If the security of your data and privacy matters to you, Data Privacy Day is a great time to start actively protecting your info. If you have taken measures to better protect your data, then this day is a great time to take look at your tactics and determine what is working and what is not.

I encourage you to learn the data privacy lesson that Target, Sony, and Equifax learned the hard way. It’s in the best interest of every employee of every business or organization to practice good data stewardship to keep from being the next lead story on CNBC or the next big headline in the Wall Street Journal.

Whether it’s your bank, the power company, doctor’s office, pharmacy or even your own workplace, encourage them to protect your data sufficiently. Don’t ever assume your data is protected. Be your own data privacy advocate.

Training Resources:
Cybersecurity Training
CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional Prep Course)
CompTIA Security+ Certification Prep Course
Cisco Security Certifications
Security CDL XL Pass

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