Data Privacy Week Highlights Online and Mobile Privacy

WhistleOut fast facts
  • Many countries celebrate Data Privacy Day. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner is marking the occasion with a weeklong campaign this year.
  • Canada’s campaign includes videos on social media privacy, online games to help you protect data, and a privacy day event on January 27.
  • Major corporations—including Apple and Meta—are engaging consumers on privacy settings and tools to protect their data.
  • A campaign by Apple stars Ted Lasso actor Nick Mohemmed going through an ordinary day whilst using iPhone privacy features.

Since 1981, countries worldwide have marked Data Privacy Day in recognition of the treaty protecting the right to privacy. The treaty enshrined respect for privacy and data protection for everyone at a time when personal computing was taking off.

Now, 42 years later, personal data and privacy has evolved with the rise of social media platforms and mobile devices.

In a statement celebrating Data Privacy Week, Philippe Dufresne, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, reinforced the original goals of the original treaty. “Privacy is a fundamental right that we should not have to surrender in the name of innovation or profit,” Dufresne said.

Digital privacy and consumer protection are more fraught now than in recent years due to the rise of social media, location tracking, email marketing, and mobile app tracking.

But, as Dufresne said, “When individuals trust that their rights will be protected, they feel confident about participating freely in the digital economy without having to choose between this participation and their fundamental privacy rights.”

Meta and Apple are considering individual rights with campaigns showing their privacy work.

Meta, the parent company of social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram, released its third-annual Privacy Progress Update, which outlines safeguards, teams, and policies within the company designed to help consumers. In addition, the update notes the company is “proactively reducing the amount of user data that we collect and use,” which is a big deal following recent data breaches and scandals.

Meta also encourages its users to focus on privacy with a settings checkup and end-to-end encryption where applicable. After the company was criticized for targeting teens on its apps, Meta announced new and updated policies to protect teens, their data, and their privacy online.

Apple focused its privacy commitment on the iPhone with a campaign featuring actor Nick Mohammed and a real-life Apple tech from the company’s downtown Los Angeles store.

The five-and-a-half-minute video focuses on four security features unique to Apple’s iPhone:

  • Email privacy protection.
  • Stopping cross-site tracking.
  • Preventing app-to-app tracking
  • How Apple Pay doesn’t store personal information.

The video builds on education resources Apple is providing to its users. Apple stores will offer Today at Apple sessions on individual privacy preferences tailored to each user’s needs. (Currently, those sessions are only available in the United States, but the features are available across all iPhone devices.)

Apple has been very upfront about its privacy features in recent years. As a result, security features on Apple devices are a major selling point for the company’s users.

As you celebrate Data Privacy Week, remember that your data and information deserve to be protected every day of the year. These resources are available anytime and can protect you from scams and identity theft.

Stay safe out there.

For more details on protecting your privacy, information, and data online, check out the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s tools for individuals and their video about privacy on social media.

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