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Data Privacy Day 2011

What is Data Privacy Day?

On January 28, 2011, Canada, along with many countries around the world, will celebrate Data Privacy Day. Recognized by privacy professionals, corporations, government officials, academics and students around the world, Data Privacy Day highlights the impact that technology is having on our privacy rights and underlines the importance of valuing and protecting personal information.

Message from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Net never forgets. Remember to protect personal data.

Many of us – especially young people – live much of our lives online. The opportunities afforded by our ability to share any information with anyone and any time are infinite but there are some perils for privacy.

There are nearly two billion people now using the Internet. That’s two billion people who can potentially access information about you with the click of a button. Canadians, especially the many young people who spend time online, need to recognize that, on the Internet, they are not always among friends.

Whenever we put personal information in cyberspace, whether accidentally or by design, it may be impossible to control who uses it and how.

But what’s the risk? Strangers could use your personal information to embarrass you or damage your reputation. Businesses could use it to track your personal likes and dislikes, without your knowledge or consent. It could also be stolen and used in ways that can cause you significant personal and financial harm.

You may not realize it, but whenever you go online, you’re building an identity through the words and images you post and the activities you do. This can become part of your reputation, and it can be a lasting one. Once personal information goes online, it may be difficult to delete. While you may be able to delete it in one place, there may be cached versions or copies stored elsewhere that you cannot control. Digital storage is cheap and computer memory is plentiful--and unlike people, the Net never forgets.

So it’s important to think about what you’re doing online, and to always protect your information.

The quantity, accessibility and persistence of personal information online affect privacy in ways that are of mounting global concern. Increasingly, governments, privacy professionals, corporations, academics and students from around the world are marking the annual Data Privacy Day to help raise awareness about the impact that technology is having on our privacy rights and to promote the protection of personal information.

My Office is pleased to support Data Privacy Day 2011, and we have produced a number of resources, such as posters and fact sheets, to mark the occasion. These resources are posted on our site and available for download, so please help yourself and help us promote Data Privacy Day by spreading the word.

The threats to privacy are huge and growing, so the protection of personal information has to be the responsibility of everyone – data-protection authorities, organizations and individuals alike, in Canada and around the world.

Jennifer Stoddart
Privacy Commissioner of Canada

For more information about Data Privacy Day events internationally, go to the Data Privacy Day 2011 official website.