23 Jan 2012

On Data Privacy Day, think less is more.


Once a year, privacy advocates and enthusiasts around the world get the chance to collectively shine a spotlight on the issue of online privacy.

Data Privacy Day, which is celebrated annually on January 28, is an annual international celebration designed to promote awareness about privacy and education about best privacy practices. Granted, it doesn’t rank up there with Canada Day or Thanksgiving in terms of food, fun or festivity, nevertheless it is a date worth circling on the calendar.

In this digital age, where our online activities can so easily be tracked, stored, shared and analyzed, and we are under constant pressure to share more and more personal information, we are all feeling a bit uneasy about all that personal data floating around in cyberspace.

It’s not that we want to turn our backs on the limitless potential of the Internet. We just need to figure out how we can all limit the potential for online personal information to be misused and abused.

The answer? When it comes to sharing personal information, think less is more.

Once our personal information is on the Internet, we have very little control over who sees it, how it is used, or how long it will be available. By sharing less personal information, we can help limit our exposure and the risks of our personal information being misused, abused or disclosed without consent.

So, whether we are social networking, using an app on a mobile device, or signing up for discounts and deals, we need to think carefully about the personal information we are putting into cyberspace.

Less is more is also good advice for businesses and organizations that collect personal information. Collecting and holding excess data raises the risks for customers, but it is also costly for businesses because it increases the risk of data breaches, which can be damaging to businesses’ reputations and expensive to clean up.

This week, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is pleased to join governments, privacy professionals, corporations, academics and students from around the world, in marking Data Privacy Day.

Our Office will be engaging in a number of activities in the week to leading up to January 28, such as the launch of some new youth privacy tools, and presentations to youth, public servants, businesses and staff. The Office has also produced some new resources, such as posters and graphics which can be used to raise awareness of privacy in any organization.

For more information on the Office’s Data Privacy Day activities and resources, go to our Data Privacy Day web page or http://www.priv.gc.ca/.


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