What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day was established by the Council of Europe in 2007 (known as Data Protection Day in Europe), and first took place that year on January 28th. Observed annually, the event commemorates the January 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108, which is significant as the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

In 2009, Congress passed a resolution designating January 28th as National Data Privacy Day in the United States. The vote to pass the bill in the House of Representatives was 402-0 (can you imagine that happening now?), showing strong bipartisan support for the protection of personal information, an across the aisle trend that to a large extent continues today.

To date, Data Privacy Day is observed in the United StatesCanadaIsrael and 47 European countries.

So that’s the background on how and why we mark this day annually. Now let’s turn our attention to the audiences best suited for the important messages the celebration seeks to convey.

Citizens and Customers

Ultimately, it’s really all of us that benefit from the good stewardship of personal data. Most of us give up our names, contact and financial information, and likely a lot more personal information to many different organizations nearly every day. To have the right to access, correct, delete and suspend onward transfer of that information is a right that is currently enjoyed by many depending on where they live, and is proliferating across the globe. If you’re not currently afforded these privileges, then it is likely being discussed as a potential right for you in some legislature. CurrentlyFour states in the U.S. are proposing privacy legislation this year:  Florida, Washington, Indiana, and the District of Columbia. This trend is increasing, and many say the possibility of a federal privacy law coming into existence has never been stronger.

Key Business Unit Stakeholders

If you work on the privacy team, or are involved with risk management in your organization, then you know that you depend on the help and support of key people in the IT, human resources, sales, marketing and customer service departments, to name a few. Data Privacy Day provides an opportunity to connect with these colleagues and remind them how important personal information management is to you, your team, and the organization. Not just for legal compliance reasons, but to maintain customer trust your organization wants and needs.

Grow awareness of the importance of strong data stewardship by sharing educational materials like those available here, and here, with these coworkers.

Privacy Team Members

Even though the members of your privacy team are committed to the tenets of data governance and diligent data stewardship efforts, they still need ongoing inspiration and motivation to take on the day-to-day challenges of proper privacy management over the long haul. Leverage this day, and use this perennial event to inform, educate, energize and celebrate their ongoing work on behalf of the company’s compliance and trust endeavors. They work hard, and so do you, so now’s the time to pause, reflect, reinvigorate, mark successes, and commit to the future of your privacy program.

Good luck and let us know if we can help!

For more information, contact Eric Dieterich, Managing Director at:

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