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Data Privacy Day is a good time for news media companies to be #PrivacyAware

By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

The Globe and Mail

Toronto, Canada


Data Privacy Day (or Data Protection Day, as it is known in Europe) is every year on January 28. This is a great opportunity to promote solid privacy practices within your organisation.

Data Privacy Day is, by and large, an educational initiative not only for individuals but for businesses as well. It aims at raising awareness about one’s personal information that is currently available via multiple electronic sources. It also raises awareness about how to recognise and seek out tools to protect one’s private information.

In a similar way, it pursues the goal of informing businesses and their employees on how important it is to secure, handle, and manage personal information about employees, customers, and service providers.

There are many Privacy Day events scheduled for January 28.
There are many Privacy Day events scheduled for January 28.

Respect privacy. Safeguard data. Ensure trust.

In North America, the National Cyber Security Alliance coordinates different activities for the day and manages a Web site packed with ready-to-use posters, logos, infographic information, and even a PowerPoint slide presentation readily designed with the same material and logos.

Some cool events are taking place on Thursday, January 28, in North America and Europe. You can Google “Privacy Day January 28 event” and see what’s close to you. Here are a few selected ones:

  • If you are in Los Angeles, California, consider attending this event about cyber intrusion. The event organisers aim to explain the anatomy of a hack “in plain English.” 

  • For those on the Eastern seaboard, an event held at Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, D.C., will review the changes and progress made during 2015, and where this leads us to for 2016. 

  • If you hail from the Canadian Alberta province, there is an interesting event about “Breach Response and Reporting.” 

  • For those not in physical proximity of any of the above, try the Twitter chat on January 27 starting at 3 p.m. EST/noon PST, and follow with the hashtags #PrivacyAware and #ChatSTC.

See all the events here.

Privacy is good for business.

For those who still struggle to get internal support for their privacy efforts, let’s review some basic privacy tips for businesses. Here I will reiterate the ones suggested for this privacy day:

  • Transparency builds trust. I feel strongly about this one. I have yet to find the downside of being transparent with your readers or subscribers. Yes, readers and subscribers may elect to remove their personal data from your organisation’s analytics tracking tool or ad targeting links. But this is far better than facing a lawsuit and subsequently tarnishing your brand.

  • Be aware of what’s being shared. As managers and employees, we should all be clear about the technology, the movement of data, and how and with whom the data is shared. It is important to educate employees so that they are part of protecting that information as well.

  • Personal information is like money. Respect it. Protect it. It goes without saying that the personal data helps us understand our readers and helps us adjust and inform our current and future products. Some will say it’s a matter of survival. If it’s this important, then treat it as such!

Happy Privacy Day!

I am #PrivacyAware.

About Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

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