January 28 is the yearly Data Privacy Day or Data Protection day. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices and it is observed in the US, Canada, India and Europe. This day offers an opportunity to inform citizens about their rights with regards to their personal details as used by various governmental and private organizations.
Data Privacy Day’s educational initiative originally focused on raising awareness among businesses as well as users about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking. The educational focus has expanded over the past four years to include families, consumers and businesses.
The day was initiated by the Council of Europe to be first held in 2007 as the European Data Protection Day. Two years later, on January 26, 2009, the United States House of Representatives passed House Resolution HR 31 by a vote of 402–0, declaring January 28 National Data Privacy Day. On January 28, 2009, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 25 also recognizing January 28, 2009 as National Data Privacy Day. The United States Senate also recognized Data Privacy Day in 2010 and in 2011.
Privacy has been under attack in recent years and the attacks are becoming larger and more common. There have been massive hacks leading to the theft of data tied to millions of people. The NSA stores and analyzes all sorts of information about us, information that apparently is available to other agencies and even to other governments by simply asking for it. That practice was predicted in George Orwell’s famous book, 1984, which has become sold out on Amazon since Donald Trump was inaugurated. Sophisticated ad technology has led to the creepy feeling you get when, for example, an item you were shopping for online suddenly shows up in your Facebook feed. Coincidence? Certainly not.
With all this going on around us, it becomes more important than ever for businesses to check if their handling of private data from customers and other businesses fits the law in the countries they operate in. Cloud computing in particular is under scrutiny and the costs of privacy breaches are significant in terms of both financial and public relations impact.
Individuals need to consider where their own private information is being stored and being used by corporations, governments, and hackers alike.