Chicago (IL) - Today is the third annual Data Privacy Day observed unofficially in Canada and the United States. It's a day set aside to spotlight computer privacy and protection issues which affect online users. For the past two years, companies like Microsoft, Intel and MySpace, along with various advocacy groups and individuals have used the day for special events, presentations and to promote general public awareness of the risks involved when going online.
Brendon Lynch, Microsoft's director of privacy strategy said, "In a way, personal information has become the new currency of crime. The Internet is really transforming society in a number of great ways. It has also become a target of cyber-criminals and they are trying to get people's personal information."
One concern raised is what Lynch refers to as the "placebo effect." It's the way online users rely on technologies like spam filters and anti-virus software, but without really knowing how it even works.
Today, Microsoft issued a press release on their Data Privacy Day activities, which includes a special event called My Privacy: Safely Navigating Life Online at the San Francisco Public Library. Privacy experts from Microsoft, Intel, MySpace, The Center for Democracy and Technology and the California Office of Privacy Protection will be on hand. A you law student active in online education will also be available.
Google will be joining the effort with additional U.S. and European government officials in Washington D.C., and actually on Capitol Hill. Google said in their press release, "Our efforts to raise data privacy awareness extend beyond the public policy arena; we aim to connect directly with our users, too. We're committed to protecting users' online privacy by following the principles of transparency and choice. We're transparent about the data we collect, and we design products that give people control over the information they share."
Microsoft has also included this 5m35s video on privacy (may not be visible in some browsers, follow link if not):
See Microsoft's Data Privacy Day press release.