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January 28 is Data Privacy Day

January 28, 2015 | John P. | Comments (0)

Data Privacy Day January 28


I can assure you that our concern for protecting personal information is very deep seated




Once again, we are barely into another year when (International) Data Privacy Day comes around again on another January 28. Data Privacy Day began in January 2008 in Canada and the United States as an extension of the Data Protection Day in Europe, dating back to Convention 108 signed on January 28, 1981 as the first legally-binding international treaty dealing with data protection and privacy issues. Data Privacy Day is now a global event.

The Internet has facilitated the free flow of information in today’s world. Both individuals and organizations need to be protective of personal information entrusted to them by practicing good data stewardship, and encouraging and educating people to protect their privacy and manage their digital footprint. The National Cyber Security Alliance, a non-profit public-private partnership, operates the website as a source for those wanting to stay safe online, teach online safety, keep their business safe online, and get involved. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada under Commissioner Daniel Therrien released the 2014 Survey of Canadians on Privacy that asked more than 1,500 Canadians what they thought about privacy issues. The survey found that nine in 10 Canadians were concerned about their privacy, while 34% of Canadians expressed extreme concern about their privacy, an increase from 25% in the 2012 Survey of Canadians on Privacy-Related Issues .

In the 2014 survey, 78% of Canadians were concerned how online personal information about themselves might be used in terms of government surveillance, while 57% of Canadians surveyed were uncomfortable with government sources requesting personal information from telecommunications companies without a warrant. 49% of surveyed Canadians expressed extreme concern about the security of personal information on a lost or stolen mobile device. Almost 30% of Canadians reported being adversely affected by a security breach, whether it was misuse of a credit or debit card, access of personal information on a lost or stolen mobile device, or even identity theft. With mobile device use, 77% of Canadians reported using a password lock on their device, an increase from 39% in 2011, while 72% of Canadians reported changing their device settings to limit information sharing, up from 40% in 2011. 58% of Canadians opted to turn off location tracking on their devices to protect privacy, up from 38% in 2012. 75% reported that they did not install an app on their devices, owing to concerns about requested personal information, an increase from 55% in 2011. 78% of Canadians reported being less willing to share information in light of sensitive information being made public, stolen, or lost, while 77% had refused to provide information to an organization at some point. 81% of Canadians reported doing business with a company with a good reputation on privacy matters.


There is some degree of debate as to how much responsibility for managing online privacy should rest with the individual. Some such as Avner Levin of Ryerson University’s Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute have called for increased powers in the role of Canada’s federal privacy commissioner, echoing the recommendations made by former federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart herself in 2011, that would allow the privacy commissioner to examine how companies handle personal data without the need of an initial complaint.

So what can individuals do to protect themselves online? Technology journalist Dan Misener of the CBC Radio program Spark suggested reviewing the privacy settings of social networks used, removing unused apps, and seeking information from the Canadian Access to Social Media Information Project (CATSMI), using himself and his accounts as examples. Media professor Sidneyeve Matrix of Queen’s University offered some suggestions for protecting one’s digital footprint gleaned from a variety of sources, including:


Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:




They Know Everything about You How Data Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy More awesome than money four boys and their heroic quest to save your privacy from Facebook Privacy in the age of big data recognizing threats defending your rights and protecting your family The naked future what happens in a world that anticipates your every move

Technocreep the surrender of privacy and the capitalization of intimacy Transparent lives surveillance in Canada Talking back to Facebook the common sense guide to raising kids in the digital age

Popular mechanics who's spying on you the looming threat to your privacy, identity, and family in the digital age Internet and surveillance the challenges of Web 2.0 and social media Cyber warfare techniques tactics and tools for security practitioners

Nothing to hide the false tradeoff between privacy and security Data data everywhere access and accountability


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