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What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day occurs annually on January 28th and represents an international effort to raise awareness about how data is collected, stored and used. With inspiring messages and discussions, the day serves as a catalyst for organizations and individuals alike to take action around data privacy.

When did Data Privacy Day first appear on a calendar?

Data Privacy Day commemorates a treaty created by the Council of Europe, known as convention 108. This convention represented the first legally binding international piece of legislation related to data protection. It was signed on the 28th of January, in 1981. Data Privacy Day emerged in Europe during 2007.[1]

A year later, the United States announced an endorsement of the holiday. Organizations across the world now use this day to reinforce cyber security awareness among their teams. Individuals may also wish to take a moment to think about their online footprint.

What should organizations think about in relation to Data Privacy Day?

Your organization’s data and the data belonging to your customers are prime targets for hackers. Should hackers get ahold of this data, it can be distributed across the internet. In turn, your business may suffer.

Organizations should ensure that data storage safeguards are in place. Here are steps that your organization can take to improve data security:

  1. Take your data and your clients’ data seriously. Follow standard security measures that keep it safe from unauthorized use. Implement appropriate cyber security infrastructure.
  2. Consider the development of a privacy framework. This will build privacy measures into your business and reduce questions about data privacy policies.
  3. Are you following best practices? Each industry has its own set of data storage best practices. How does your implementation of these practices compare to that of competitors or adjacent organizations?
  4. Think about transparency. Determine how your organization can become more transparent regarding the storage and use of data. Businesses that show respect for consumers’ data earn trust.
  5. Reignite the conversation about third-parties. Implement a program that enables your organization to provide better oversight when it comes to partners and vendors. If you work with a third-party, you’re responsible for how they collect and use your customers’ data.

How can organizations educate employees, clients and others about their data privacy practices?

On Data Privacy Day:

  • You can write a blog post that describes any new data privacy measures you’re putting into place.
  • You can also distribute an informative email internally, to customers and/or to partners.
  • Create a press release for the media.
  • Write social media posts about your organization’s commitment to data privacy.
  • Mention Data Privacy Day in your organization’s newsletter.

What should individuals think about in relation to Data Privacy Day?

Personal data is valuable to both businesses and hackers alike. For them, it’s a form of currency. As you would with a bank account or credit cards, take the time to think about the safeguards that you have in place. You should also closely consider where and why you’re sharing data with any organizations or groups that may request it.

  1. Individuals should set privacy settings on any new devices, programs or platforms in use. This includes social media and more.
  2. Individuals should be sure that any wi-fi network used for either work or personal purposes is secure.
  3. Ensure that devices’ software is always up-to-date. Otherwise, hackers may be able to exploit unpatched bugs in older software versions.
  4. Consider refraining from online quizzes that ask random questions about your personality, habits, marriage, pets or favorite foods. These types of quizzes may collect private information for dubious purposes.
  5. Ensure that you’re using strong passwords across your devices. Switch to new passwords on a regular basis.

[1] Embracing Data Privacy Day, Security Boulevard, Sven Dummer, 24 January, 2020