What is National Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day on January 28 reminds people to prioritize data security as their online and offline lives merge. Most of them don’t give much thought to data privacy until after they’ve already been the victim of a data breach, even though they live in an increasingly digital world.

As people increasingly rely on digital technologies to handle all aspects of their lives, they must reevaluate how much personal information they reveal, where and when they reveal it, and with whom they share it.

 

What Exactly is Data Privacy?

Companies of all sizes gather information about their clientele, potential clients, and staff members. It is done so that they can track their clientele, learn more about the industry, and find ways to better serve their customers. Information about a person includes but is not limited to, that person’s name, Social Security number, birthdate, mother’s maiden name, location, race, ethnicity, religion, genetic data, biometric records, medical history, education history, and employment history.

Data privacy, also known as information privacy, concerns the security of such information and the observance of applicable data protection regulations.

 

What is the History of National Data Privacy Day?

The importance of protecting personal information is not a recent phenomenon or a feature of the digital era. Information about us has been vulnerable to theft for decades. Collecting personal information, both legally and illegally, has become much simpler thanks to the advent of digital technologies.

Protecting personal information isn’t typically at the top of most people’s daily to-do lists. You probably didn’t give it much thought when you turned on your desktop, laptop, or mobile phone this morning to do the myriad of mundane tasks we routinely perform with the help of technology, such as checking email, reading the news, researching investments, and more.

While data security and privacy are intertwined, they are not the same. To illustrate the distinction, people find it helpful to compare data security to physical security measures such as installing window bars.

Most end-users don’t give much thought to data privacy beyond ensuring no one else has their passwords. There is an implicit assumption that software and data service providers will protect the private information they obtain from their customers in exchange for access to their products and services. However, companies today do not necessarily treat the personal data they collect as confidential.

Data Privacy Day is a wake-up call for anyone “on the grid,” meaning they use any kind of digital device for any reason, and who believes their data is secure because they have installed anti-spam and firewall programs.

 

What is the Importance of Data Privacy?

What you know about yourself is valuable. Suppose your information falls into the hands of cybercriminals. In that case, it will be sold on the “dark web” over and over again for years to hackers and spammers who will, at best, bombard you with annoying spam and, at worst, use your personal information to empty your bank accounts, investment accounts, buy homes and cars, and go on luxurious cruise vacations on your credit.

 

Whose Responsibility is it to Ensure the Security of Personal Information?

There is currently no agreement on who is accountable for protecting personal information. Some people believe businesses and governments have the best grasp on this complicated issue, while others believe it is the responsibility of individuals to safeguard their personal information.