January 28th: Celebrate Data Privacy Day!

Order a cake! Decorate the place with streamers! Throw confetti everywhere! Invite friends over, play loud music, and dance on the couch!

Why?

Well, it’s January 28th: Data Privacy Day!

In all seriousness, Data Privacy Day is recognized in the United States, Canada, and in many countries throughout Europe to promote awareness for businesses and consumers to safeguard their personally identifiable information online.

Back in 2009, the United States Congress declared January 28th the official day to observe Data Privacy Day. With January 28th close at hand, it’s a good time to review what it means to protect personally identifiable information and maintain online privacy from the standpoint of both the consumer and online business owner.

What Data Privacy Day Means for Consumers

Our lives are becoming more digitized. Consumers are being tracked by their every click via cookies or web beacons. (Unless, of course, they opt-out). Some websites ask the visitor to create an account on the site, meaning the user has the option to give out personally identifiable information based on whether or not the user decides to create an account with that site or not. For the consumer who isn’t quite as tech savvy, Data Privacy Day provides an opportunity to teach consumers about protecting their online privacy – especially in the social media realm. Consumers should be aware of what online predators lurking in the shadows can do if online privacy is compromised, and what course of action to take should that happen.

What Data Privacy Day Means for Online Businesses

Observing Data Privacy Day for the e-entrepreneur serves as an opportunity to ensure your business upholds a high standard of online privacy safety mechanisms to protect consumer data from falling into the wrong hands. As an online business owner, ask yourself:

  • Does the privacy policy on my website state clearly the reason why my online business collects personally identifiable information, how it’s used, and how it’s protected?
  • Does my site have a clear and conspicuous “Opt-In” or “Opt-Out” clause regarding third-party use of certain types of personal information?
  • Are my firewall and encryption software up-to-date to protect against potential hacking?

Since technology and laws governing the Internet seem to change as fast as Superman changes clothes, you should have an online privacy audit done on your web properties to ensure your customers’ online privacy is kept.

Imagine what it would cost your business, not just in terms of dollars and cents, but in reputation if there were a breach in online privacy connected to your website. The financial loss you and your business would suffer could be huge – gargantuan(!). The bond of trust your customers had with you wouldn’t be broken. No, it would be shattered to bits beyond repair. Then what?

Naturally, you want to avoid a nightmare situation in which you’re responsible for losing, misusing, or not protecting a consumer’s personal data and keeping it private. Having an experienced online privacy attorney conduct a privacy audit of your website is a major step toward maintaining your customers’ online privacy. An online privacy attorney can help you make your website a trustworthy place for your customers who entrust your site with their personal information.

Finally, Data Privacy Day isn’t a day that Internet entrepreneurs and consumers observe on one specific day a year. After all, data thieves don’t steal data only one day a year. That’s why what’s observed on Data Privacy Day should be observed all year-round.

Have a happy and healthy Data Privacy Day!

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