Data Protection Day 2021

The Information and Data Protection Commissioner joins the other Data Protection authorities in Europe and around the world to celebrate Data Protection Day on Thursday 28th January 2021.

Created by the Council of Europe in 2006, this day coincides with the anniversary of the opening for signature of Convention 108 of the Council of Europe with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data which has been for 40 years a cornerstone of data protection in Europe and beyond. It is the first legally binding international law in the field of data protection and served as a model for many other data protection regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which builds on the principles of Convention 108. More than two years after the entry into force of the GDPR it is greatly evident that this legislation is a reference point to many who put data protection at the centre of their initiatives.

Data Protection Day is a global effort. It is celebrated every year and is an occasion for all data subjects in the member countries of the Council of Europe as well as EU institutions to generate and raise awareness on the right to privacy, data protection best practices and remind organisations that privacy is good for business. It represents an opportunity to think about one’s privacy, internet security, the way companies process personal information of their customers and measures one can take to safeguard personal information.

Most importantly it seeks to bring out the importance of privacy safeguards and points to the potential dangers of exposing one’s data, thus making data subjects that little bit more attentive and diligent consumers. In other words the aim of Data Protection Day is to give individuals the chance to understand what personal data is collected and processed about them, the purpose for such processing and their rights in this regard. Its objective is therefore to inform, empower and educate the public at large as to their day-to-day rights insofar as data protection is concerned, including the digital footprint, and thus making data protection a great priority in their lives. Hence the importance of Data Protection Day.

The European data protection rules have become the golden standard, to the extent that many countries outside the EEA are modelling or aligning their data protection laws with the GDPR. The solid stature of these rules was certainly put to the test last year when the world faced the unprecedented challenges presented by the coronavirus.

Now, more than ever, the protection of personal data is indeed necessary. People must have a level of trust and confidence in controllers that they won’t misuse their data. This can only be achieved if controllers scrupulously follow the principles for processing and ensure that they rely on a clear legal ground to justify the processing activities.

As part of the activities to commemorate the day, the EDPB has produced a Data Protection Day Campaign video which you may access at the following hyperlink: https://vimeo.com/tmpictures/review/504753676/165396339c

Article by the Data Protection Commissioner Ian Deguara

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