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Data Privacy Day

Monday, January 28th, was Data Privacy Day. According to the sponsoring National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA),* “It is an effort to empower people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint and escalate the protection of privacy and data as everyone’s priority.” The Alliance’s site offers tips on protecting your privacy online. For example, if you are using a wireless router, change the default ID and the preset password. The Cyber Security Alliance website also includes suggestions for how to teach online safety to children and young adults.

The protection of privacy was the topic of several Data Privacy Day articles. A post on Huff Post Tech points out that the law covering government access to online data was enacted before email was commercially available to most. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was passed in 1986. Currently, Senator Leahy, as Chair of the Judiciary Committee, is working on amending the law. In the past Congress, he introduced S. 1011, a bill “to improve the provisions relating to the privacy of  electronic communications.” Another post on Forbes discusses the Obama administration’s 2011″Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.” The Commerce Department was asked to create privacy policies based on this document. To see the Commerce Department’s policy actions under this “Bill of Rights,” search for “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” on the department’s homepage.

A number of other Data Day Privacy articles and blog posts discussed increasing government requests for data collected by companies such as Google and Twitter. Examples include “On ‘Data Privacy Day,’ Google and twitter Point Finger at Government” in Ad Age and “Government Appetite Growing for Twitter User Data” in Wired. Monday’s posts on Google’s Official Blog and Twitter’s Blog were about they deal with government requests. Twitter has added more in depth information about requests in its Transparency Reports, while Google discusses its three initiatives. Both Google and Twitter transparency reports are on the web:


*The NCSA brings major industry sponsors into a public/private partnership with the Department of Homeland Security.