Feds join fight to protect your privacy

In an effort to raise awareness around the ways to protect personal information from falling into the wrong hands, federal agencies and private sector companies are participating in recognizing Jan. 28 as national Data Privacy Day.

The effort brings together government agencies, nonprofits and businesses such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft to raise cybersecurity awareness and promote collaboration between the public sector, industry and citizens in creating new policies to protect digital data. 
 
First recognized in the United States and Canada in January 2008, the Data Privacy Day spun off from Data Protection Day, launched in Europe in 2007. The U.S. Congress also realized the importance of a day dedicated to data privacy awareness and in 2009 passed resolutions recognizing Jan. 28 as National Data Privacy Day.

"Every day, our lives become more reliant on the Internet, and the goal behind Data Privacy Day is to educate digital citizens on how to protect their personal information online and make them more aware of the impact that technology has in their lives,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of National Cyber Security Alliance. “While we celebrate Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28, we want audiences to use safe data privacy practices year-round."

In the wake of the past years’ deluge of cyber attacks on government and commercial business alike, agencies took further steps to promote better cybersecurity practices and educate the public on privacy and data protection issues. The Federal Trade Commission, for example, created You Are Here, a virtual mall, to reach young children and educate them on the importance of protecting personal information.

The Homeland Security Department, which leads the National Cybersecurity Awareness track of the National Initiative For Cybersecurity Education initiative, has used public service campaigns like "STOP. THINK. CONNECT." to promote cybersecurity and responsible online use. The Internal Revenue Services also on its website details what it is doing to protect citizens privacy and provides information on how to avoid phishing scams.

NCSA, which Jan. 26 hosted a Data Privacy Day event featuring FTC Commissioner Julie Brill,  will be posting news about National Data Privacy Day and related information on Twitter, using the #DataPrivacyDay hashtag.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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