Data Privacy Day started being recognized in the United States in 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Polling data revealed that 70% of Europeans did not understand how their personal data was being protected, so they decided to establish Data Protection Day to educate consumers about their rights. The initial efforts focused on raising awareness among teens and young adults about the importance of protecting the data they shared on social networks, but the educational focus has expanded over the years to include families, consumers, and businesses.
The National Cyber Security Alliance reminds us that, “Data flows freely in today’s online world. Everyone – from home computer users to multinational corporations – needs to be aware of the personal data others have entrusted to them and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it. Being a good online citizen means practicing conscientious data stewardship. Data Privacy Day is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy, control their digital footprint, and make the protection of privacy and data a great priority in their lives.”
If last year was any evidence, we still have a lot of areas that can be improved when it comes to data privacy. The Online Trust Alliance estimates that in 2013 there were 740 million records disclosed in numerous security breaches around the globe. This included many notable breaches from big companies like Target, Adobe, Snapchat, Skype, Neiman Marcus, American Express, Discover, JPMorgan Chase, and many others.
The alarming thing is that the Online Trust Alliance reports that 89% of those breaches and data loss incidents could have been prevented had simple controls and security best practices been implemented. Consumers have to demand better protection of their data and there needs to be more consequences when companies fail to safeguard their personal information.
This year the European Commission is pushing for better data protection rules for citizens. Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner said, “Data protection is a fundamental right. Europe has the chance to make these rules a global gold standard. These rules will benefit citizens who want to be able to trust online services.”
Some of the proposed rules that will put citizens back in control of their data include:
- A right to be forgotten: When you no longer want your data to be processed and there are no legitimate grounds for retaining it, the data will be deleted. This is about empowering individuals, not about erasing past events or restricting freedom of the press (see separate section on this).
- Easier access to your own data: A right to data portability will make it easier for you to transfer your personal data between service providers.
- Allowing you to decide how your data is used: When your consent is required to process your data, you must be asked to give it explicitly. It cannot be assumed. Saying nothing is not the same thing as saying yes. Businesses and organisations will also need to inform you without undue delay about data breaches that could adversely affect you.
- The right to know when your data has been hacked: For example, companies and organisations must notify the national supervisory authority of serious data breaches as soon as possible (if feasible, within 24 hours) so that users can take appropriate measures.
- Data protection first, not an afterthought: ‘Privacy by design’ and ‘privacy by default’ will also become essential principles in EU data protection rules – this means that data protection safeguards should be built into products and services from the earliest stage of development, and that privacy-friendly default settings should be the norm.
As a DPD Champion, we value our customer’s privacy very much, which is why we make apps that help to protect it. Not only that, we have comprehensive privacy policies embedded into our apps and our website, ensuring that the safety of our customer’s data is always priority #1. It’s critical to advocate for new rules and regulations, but one of the most important ways to protect yourself is to make yourself aware and educated about data privacy, and that is what today is all about.