INTERNATIONAL DATA PROTECTION DAY – January 28, 2021 –

By Mugurel Olariu, RPD protectie date

This year, 28 January, is a very special day, not only for the Council of Europe, but for the entire global data protection community and, above all, for every person protected by this essential right.

Thus, January 28 is the 15-th edition of Data Protection Day celebrated by the member states of the Council of Europe.
At the same time, we are celebrating the 40-th anniversary of Convention 108, which was opened for signature on 28 January 1981, which has influenced and shaped the protection of privacy and data protection in Europe and beyond. Its upgraded version (known as Convention 108+) will continue to do so.
Convention 108 remains, to date, the only legally binding international instrument on universal data protection as a field, making it the “Global Convention on Data Protection” as experts and experts around the world now refer to it. Convention 108 may not be known to the general public and the billion people it protects (55 countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe have ratified or acceded to Convention 108, implementing it on a daily basis), but its role has been key in improving our protection.
Data protection issues, including their cross-border dimension, are extremely present in our daily lives – at work, in their relations with public authorities, in the field of health, when buying goods or services, when traveling or surf the internet.

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However, the society is generally unfamiliar with data protection issues and is not aware of existing rights in this regard.
The aim of Data Protection Day is therefore to inform and educate the general public about their day-to-day rights, but it can also give data protection professionals the opportunity to meet with data subjects.
On Data Protection Day, events should be organized in all countries to raise awareness among people, as well as administrations, businesses, organizations, etc. on rights and good practice, thus promoting a more effective exercise of these rights.
Data Protection Day should be a special occasion, a moment allotted by each of us to get acquainted with a largely unknown but major facet of our daily lives.
The purpose of Data Protection Day is to give people everywhere the chance to understand what personal data is collected and processed about them and why and what are their rights regarding this processing.
They should also be aware of the risks inherent in and associated with the illegal management and unfair processing of their personal data.

However, given that most data protection supervisors and some parts of the public or private sector are already organizing awareness-raising activities, participation in Data Protection Day would not necessarily involve an additional financial burden, as events are planned as part of the strategy, to raise the awareness of a State and / or an interested body.
Three regional events have also been organized at Council of Europe level, as follows:
➤ 2021 Data Privacy Day: Asia-Pacific event 2:00 am-3:30 am (CET) January 28, 2021
➤ 2021 Data Protection Day in Africa 12:00 am-01: 30 pm (CET) January 28, 2021
➤ 2021 Data Protection Day in Latin America 21:00 – 22:30 (GMT + 1) January 28, 2021

A video clip *1 was made at the level of the European specialized body – European Data Protection Board, with the participation of the 31 representatives of their members, which promotes a message on the importance of data protection.
At national level – ANSPDCP, organized a series of online conferences – on January 27, for public institutions and on January 28, for private institutions, which promoted the importance of data protection in the two environments, public and private. At the same time, a brochure dedicated to the European Data Protection Day and a leaflet related to it were presented.
As our lives become more active and our societies continue to harness the potential in the digital age, the Convention 108+ is becoming increasingly crucial for each of us, ensuring humanity, dignity and integrity in an age of artificial intelligence and of algorithmic decision making, providing a common legal space at international level to facilitate data flows between countries.
At EU level, the working tool represented by the GDPR manages to impose standards with a high level of personal data protection.
We conclude that January 28 is the day that reminds us that new technologies must serve us in a way that respects human rights, in particular the rights to the protection of privacy and personal data.

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*1 See at https://edpb.europa.eu/news/news/2021/edpb-celebrates-data-protection-day_en