Jan 222011
 January 22, 2011  Posted by  Misc

Data Privacy Day is soon upon us. Here’s a press release from DataPrivacyDay2011.org:

In the last 30 days, a public issue of personal importance – privacy – has moved from behind-the-scenes negotiations to the front page. “Data Privacy Day” on Friday, January 28 will serve as a rally point for people across the globe in support of data practices that can promote innovation without intrusion, advertising without tracking, and entertainment without eavesdropping.

According to Jolynn Dellinger, Program Manager for the event, “Today, privacy is everyone’s business.”

The need is clear. Smart phones locate us, lives are lived on Facebook, shopping and banking are done online, work occurs not so much in an office but on Wi-Fi and each time personal information is shared with the world.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Commerce have issued reports on the future of privacy. Congress and governments abroad have put business practices and consumer protection on their “to-do” lists — all fueled by public concern, lawsuits and consent decrees over the use of personal data collected online.

“Advocates argue for legislation or promote industry self-regulation and robust corporate accountability as effective ways to protect consumer privacy,” said Richard Purcell, head of the Privacy Projects, an official sponsor of Data Privacy Day. “The alternatives put additional pressure on companies seeking to do the right thing. Data Privacy Day is an opportunity for all to gain a better understanding of the options and the stakes.”

That’s why “Data Privacy Day” is a celebration recognized in the United States, Canada and 27 European Union countries. Officially sponsored by the Privacy Projects, Intel Corporation, Visa, and Microsoft, Data Privacy Day promotes awareness and education about privacy.

Dellinger notes that businesses around the world will be undertaking privacy trainings, privacy awareness campaigns for employees, and events and initiatives to promote privacy awareness. Anchor events hosted by Microsoft in California and the Centre for Information Policy and Leadership in Washington, D.C. will explore the benefits and privacy implications of location-based technologies and the role of the individual in privacy protection, respectively.

Here are some of the facts that make action imperative:

  • According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s Chronology of Data Breaches, 559 data breaches in the United States led to the compromise of at least 11,430,405 records in 2010.
  • The Ponemon Institute’s global study of data breach costs issued in April 2010 indicates that the average cost associated with a data breach in 2009 was $3.43 million, an average of $142.00 per compromised customer record.
  • As reported by Symantec’s SMB Information Protection Survey, Global Data, June 2010, three-quarters of businesses surveyed reported cyber attacks within the past year with an average annual cost of $188,242.00.

Companies can start here. They know data is valuable, so they can take steps to protect it. In honor of Data Privacy Day companies can improve their privacy practices by updating privacy policies, make them readable and clear; train employees on best privacy practices; secure all networks and digital copiers; shred documents that contain personal information instead of throwing them away or request only that personal information from clients and consumers that is necessary to get the job done. According to Dellinger, “Or find a Data Privacy Day event near you and learn something new.”

Consumers can start with these 10 simple and effective steps:

1.    Update your privacy settings
2.    Password protect your smartphone
3.    Learn how to browse anonymously
4.    Ask why someone needs your Social Security Number before handing it over
5.    Shred some of your older documents
6.    Learn about cookies and behavioral tracking
7.    Strengthen your passwords
8.    Share personal information cautiously
9.    Teach a young person about privacy using educational materials at http://www.dataprivacyday.org
10.    Find a Data Privacy Day event near you and learn something new.

“Data Privacy Day is a chance for all of us to become better aware of our options and opportunities to protect personal information without impairing the incredible benefits we derive from technology,” Purcell said.

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