"Data Privacy Day" is an international holiday that occurs every January 28. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote data privacy education. It is currently 'celebrated' in the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries. In Europe this holiday is referred to as Data Protection Day.
Initially having an educational focus on raising awareness among teens and young adults about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking. The day has expanded to include families, consumers and businesses.
In addition to its educational initiative, Data Privacy Day promotes events and activities that stimulate the development of technology tools that promote individual control over personally identifiable information; encourage compliance with privacy laws and regulations; and create dialogues among stakeholders interested in advancing data protection and privacy.
A related current initiative, in the spirit of "Data Privacy Day", is being organized by ten U.S.- based cyber issue organizations, called the "Day We Fight Back". "The Day We Fight Back" On February 11, has been organized " to demand an end to mass surveillance in every country, by every state, regardless of boundaries or politics."
The motivation for this initiative is the very recent revelations re. the secret NSA surveillance. A January 27 blog post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation provides the backdrop :
"The Snowden revelations have confirmed our worst fears about online spying. They show that the NSA and its allies have been building a global surveillance infrastructure to “master the internet” and spy on the world’s communications. These shady groups have undermined basic encryption standards, and riddled the Internet’s backbone with surveillance equipment. They have collected the phone records of hundreds of millions of people none of whom are suspected of any crime. They have swept up the electronic communications of millions of people at home and overseas indiscriminately, exploiting the digital technologies we use to connect and inform. They spy on the population of allies, and share that data with other organizations, all outside the rule of law."
In a process that has been lead by Privacy International, Access, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( EFF ) with input from privacy organizations and advocates worldwide.The coalition has developed 13 principles that should guide government surveillance by providing measures that will attempt to protect the individual privacy and freedom of citizens.
As the preamble to the principles states :
"...existing human rights law have not kept up with the modern and changing communications surveillance capabilities of the State, the ability of the State to combine and organize information gained from different surveillance techniques, or the increased sensitivity of the information available to be accessed."
The principles cover these particular areas : Legality; Legitimate Aim; Necessity; Adequacy; Proportionality; Competent Judicial Authority; Due process; User notification; Transparency; Public oversight; Integrity of communications and systems; Safeguards for international cooperation; Safeguards against illegitimate access.
The EFF blog post includes suggestions for how individuals & organizations can join the effort.