Privacy has become an expectation. When we share information on social media or shop online, there’s an expectation that our correspondence, posts, and even our shopping habits and purchases will remain confidential.
That may not always be the case, so it’s incumbent on us to be active participants in discussions and efforts regarding data privacy.
Since 2008, Jan. 28 has been dedicated as Data Privacy Day. The date commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection, according to Stay Safe Online. This year, the University of Utah is participating as an official champion of the cause, which is to raise awareness about “the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.”
The university is in a unique position to be a privacy champion. The U is an active community partner on a local, national and global scale. In addition, the U is a recognized leader in many academic, research, and clinical disciplines. We’re entrusted with a variety of data, some of which is personal and sensitive in nature. This all means that the university can spread the message about protecting data privacy by setting the example. By becoming a champion, the U is demonstrating its commitment to respecting and promoting the importance of privacy and encouraging others to do the same.
Efforts to protect data start with each of us. We all share a responsibility to respect the privacy of our students, patients, guests, faculty and staff. One of the best resources available to you is the university’s own statements regarding privacy, which can be accessed here. Another helpful resource is the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), which has created a helpful tool you can use to update your online privacy settings that cover online services, applications, mobile phones and gaming devices.
Once you’ve started to improve your privacy settings, the next step is to share this information with others. For instance, you can use the hashtag #PrivacyAware to get the message out to a larger audience. In many instances, our friends, family and associates are interested in privacy, but they don’t know where to start. This is your chance to champion that effort and make a difference.
Creating a culture of privacy at home, in your community, and at work starts with you. Get involved with Data Privacy Day and help raise awareness about the importance of data privacy. For more information, visit staysafeonline.org. Resources and advocates also are available through the University of Utah’s Information Privacy Office and Information Security Office.