Yesterday was the 10th annual European Data Protection Day.
It is celebrated on 28 January each year to promote awareness and understanding as to what personal data is collected about individuals, how it is processed and why.
Whilst the day itself may not have a particularly attention-grabbing title, the issues it seeks to highlight are of particular interest now as much as ever.
Over the past year alone, there have been frequent reports in the news concerning data protection, whether it be in relation to the loss of sensitive data through security hacks of high-profile websites, the debates surrounding the bulk collection and retention of data by various government agencies or concerns regarding the sharing of data by organisations without an individual’s consent.
There are a number of new pieces of legislation currently being considered, or in the process of being finalised, which deal with data protection issues, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR) and the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. These alone have been the subject of much debate so it will be interesting to see how the land lies in relation to data protection this time next year.
Why the 28 January? This date corresponds to the anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe's Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data which has been for over 30 years a cornerstone of data protection, in Europe and beyond. Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called the "Privacy Day" outside Europe.