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National Data Privacy Day

Monday marked the sixth annual celebration of Data Privacy Day, an awareness event promoted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). The day’s inaugural celebration, in 2008, was held to commemorate the signing of Convention 108 in 1981. This Convention, held in Strasbourg, France, signed into effect the first international treaty protecting individual rights in regards to privacy and data protection. For the past six years the NCSA has used this day to raise awareness, for both businesses and individuals, on how to protect private information online.


Today’s technological age raises serious and complex data security issues. StaySafeOnline.com, sponsored by the NCSA, provides insightful links to raise awareness about online privacy and data protection for a wide variety of contexts and users. Tips for businesses, parents, teens, educators and international users are all available at http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/landing/. These tips are geared toward issues like protecting online reputations, fighting identity fraud and training employees in proper online privacy management.


Major online companies have also used this day, and the weeks leading up to it, to post their reports on data requests. Twitter posted its company’s transparency report on Monday while Google released its report last week. Their reports both showed similar results in regards to data requests from the U.S. government. Twitter reported that the U.S. government issued almost 1,500 user data requests during 2012. Google saw a much higher volume of data requests, with 21,000 such requests coming from the government in 2012. This number is up fifty percent from the 14,000 requests in 2011. In most cases, the U.S. government issued these requests through subpoenas but also relied on court orders and search warrants to obtain the information. Google and Twitter also admit that in the majority of these requests, the government obtained some or all of the information requested.


This year’s celebration of Data Privacy Day shows the growing trend of government intervention in online affairs and the initiative to make these inquiries transparent. The reports issued by Google and Twitter, along with the tips from the NCSA, highlight some of the critical issues relating to privacy and online data.


Google Transparency Report



Twitter Transparence Report


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