Tomorrow marks the third annual Data Privacy Day, kicking off a week-long set of international events designed to raise awareness about how much information people share online, how that information might be used, and how to protect against its misuse.
Resolutions of support for Data Privacy Day 2010 (www.dataprivacyday2010.org) have come from across the country. In North Carolina, Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Iowa, Governors have recognized January 28 as Data Privacy Day, urging that people be “aware of data privacy concerns and . . . take steps to protect their personal information online.”
“Most consumers see the benefit of living online, but too few are aware of just how much information is being collected, who is collecting it, and how it is being used,” said Richard Purcell, executive director of The Privacy Projects (www.theprivacyprojects.org), organizing sponsor of Data Privacy Day. “We hope to reach adults and young people and advance privacy awareness with the educational materials and resources available at the Data Privacy Day webpage.
The National Association of Attorneys General, comprised of the top law enforcement officers in each state, is also on record in support of Data Privacy Day.
“This is not surprising,” said Purcell. “The AGs have been battling identity theft, and the more information collected online, the larger the ‘targets of opportunity’ for the bad guys.”
He noted that the recent breaches of credit and debit card information at retailing company TJX (NYSE: TJX) and payment system vendor Heartland (NYSE:HPY) were big stories for the media, but there is an equal danger of an “inadvertent breach.”
“When AOL (NYSE: AOL) released anonymous search data in 2006 and in 2009 when Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) did the same as part of its challenge to improve its movie recommendation engine, real people were identified,” Purcell said.
That’s why Data Privacy Day sponsors Intel (Nasdaq: INTL), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Lexis Nexis along with partners Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) and Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), encourage building “transparency, consumer control, and accountability” into data governance practices using new technologies, Purcell noted.
“Our shared goal is to help everyone be smarter about data collection and use,” he said.
The “Day” is actually a schedule of events, bringing together companies, governments, institutions, academics, students, educators, and not-for-profit organizations in the United States, Canada, and Europe to help individuals better understand how to deal with our digital economy. It also promotes awareness about the ways we share personal information, its uses, and the resulting outcomes of our lives online.
Among the events occurring on and around Data Privacy Day are:
“We are living digital lives in a networked world,” Purcell said. “And it is important to be aware that as each of us engages with the helpful services – from paying bills and reading books online, to using one-click payment systems, to shopping without having to find a parking space – we are building a data base of information about ourselves.”
The Privacy Projects (TPP) is a Nordland, Washington-based, non-profit research institute that funds academic research into “evidence-based” privacy aimed at enhancing policies, practices and tools necessary to meet the power of the new technologies. An independent voice, TPP seeks to offer insight to companies, governments and consumer advocates as new information-driven businesses are considered, developed and deployed.
Source: Press Release