Countdown to Data Privacy Day Reminds Consumers to Value and Protect Their Personal Information

As the “Internet of Me” continues to expand, the National Cyber Security Alliance encourages all digital citizens to better manage their privacy


Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2017 – Many consumers do not fully understand how their information is collected, used and stored by the devices, apps and websites they use every day. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 91 percent of American adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies. Additionally, 50 percent are worried about the amount of personal information about them online, while 47 percent said they were not confident they understood what would be done with their data once it was collected.

Against this backdrop of haze about collection and use of personal information are the emergence and rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) – with more than 30.7 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020. IoT devices that you use at home, at work and on the go are fueled by information about you. Your data – like behaviors and preferences – are a significant part of what makes IoT devices work.

On Jan. 28, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and its partners in industry, government and the nonprofit sector will join forces to recognize Data Privacy Day, an annual effort to educate consumers about how they can better protect their personal information and manage their privacy and teach organizations about how privacy is good for business. Data Privacy Day, led by NCSA in the United States, is built on the theme “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust.” 

NCSA will officially recognize Data Privacy Day on Thursday, Jan. 26, with a day-long event streamed live from Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

“IoT is really the Internet of Me,” said NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser. “As we continue to acquire devices and apps to make our lives more convenient and efficient, we need to be aware that the cadence of our lives is being digitally captured. Data Privacy Day is a time for all digital citizens to carefully consider the data they continuously generate about themselves and others and take steps to protect their personal information and manage their privacy.”

Fortunately, consumers are beginning to adopt some privacy and security measures to protect their personal information. The Pew survey showed that 86 percent of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints, such as clear their browser cookies, encrypt emails and use virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) addresses. Additionally, a recent NCSA survey revealed that 74 percent of consumers think it is “important” to “extremely important” that websites have easy to understand and accessible information regarding how information is collected, how it’s used and with whom it is shared, and 47 percent of shoppers who had abandoned online purchases due to security concerns did so because too much information was being asked of them in relationship to the transactions. Shoppers also reported taking the following privacy measures:

  • Trying to understand what personal information a device collects, how it is being used and how it is stored (45%)
  • Reading information from the manufacturer about how to keep the device secure over time (34%)
  • Keeping IoT mobile apps up to date with the latest software updates (30%)
  • Researching the past history of privacy/security concerns about a device (27%)
  • Updating privacy settings on social media (27%)
  • Reading the terms and conditions of an app before downloading (21%) 

Despite taking these positive privacy steps, 61 percent say they would like to do more to protect their personal information, according to the Pew study.

“It’s promising to see that awareness of privacy and security is growing, but there is still a need for more education around how our data is collected, managed and used,” said Kaiser. “Personal information has value – just like money. It’s critically important for everyone to continue to learn about the data use practices of the companies, websites and devices with which they interact and consider how they can better manage their digital lives.”

“New technology and new, creative uses of data promise tremendous benefits for consumers across all aspects of life. Realizing that promise requires that consumers are knowledgeable and empowered,” said Paula Bruening, Senior Counsel, Global Privacy Policy, Intel Corporation. “With the right tools, informed consumers can protect their privacy and take advantages the exciting advances made possible by data innovation.”

NCSA recommends taking the following steps to better manage your privacy in a growing Internet of Me:

  • Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
  • Lock down your login: Choose one account and turn on the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.
  • Keep a clean machine: Update your security software, web browser and operating system to have the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  • Share with care: What you post can last a lifetime. Before posting something about yourself or others online, think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it. 

Join the Greater Effort

NCSA encourages everyone to do their part to promote a culture of privacy awareness. Here’s how you can get involved this Data Privacy Day and year-round:

  • Become a Data Privacy Day Champion: Individuals and companies can get involved and actively show their dedication to respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Champions receive a toolkit of privacy awareness materials that they can use to educate themselves and their communities. Becoming a Champion is easy and does not require any financial support.
  • Join the conversation on social media: Using the hashtag #PrivacyAware, post on social media about why privacy is important to you and/or your organization. Download our memes, social media images and posts here.

Data Privacy Day Events

  • #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Managing Your Privacy in the Internet of Me, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST: Join @STOPTHNKCONNECT and a panel of experts for a Twitter chat on managing your privacy in a growing “Internet of Me” world.
  • Data Privacy Day – Privacy Program Fundamentals (Webinar), Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1-3 p.m. EST/10 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST: Privacy Ref is celebrating Data Privacy Day by offering a free two-hour course on privacy basics. This session will cover how to define privacy, developing a privacy program, consenting to data processing and more. Normally this course is $250, but to ring in the New Year, it is available to you for free. Sign up today to reserve your spot as space is limited.
  • #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Being #PrivacyAware is Good for Business, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST: This #ChatSTC Twitter chat will help you understand how privacy is good for business and the steps your organization can take to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.
  • Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference: The Age of Intelligent Machines, Jan. 25 - 27,
    Computers, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) is an annual three-day conference convened in Brussels devoted to privacy and data protection. The conference brings together academics, lawyers, practitioners, policy-makers, industry and civil society from all over the world, offering them an arena to exchange ideas and discuss the latest emerging issues and trends. David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer of Intel – an NCSA board member company – will moderate The Right to Obscurity: Implementing the Google-Spain Decision panel on Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. CET. Panelists include Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairman of CNIL, Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel of Google, and Artemi Rallo, former Director of the Spanish Data Protection Agency. Learn more and register here
  • Live from Twitter HQ: Data Privacy Day 2017 Event – Hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Thursday, Jan. 26: In recognition of Data Privacy Day 2017, NCSA is hosting a daylong event live from Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco. Join us to watch exciting panels, TED-style talks and interviews focusing on the latest privacy issues for consumers and business. The event will be available online for the world to watch on Livestream, Periscope and Facebook Live. View more information and sign up to watch the discussions live here.
  • Data Privacy Day Panel Discussion, Friday, Jan. 27, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (PST): Join privacy and security experts from ESET, Morrison & Foerster and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for a stimulating and educational Data Privacy Day panel discussion at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Diego, CA. Learn more and register for the event here.  

Privacy Resources

  • Data Privacy Day 2017 Backgrounder: NCSA’s Data Privacy Day Backgrounder is a “must-have” primer. It’s packed with information about the day’s history, the latest on consumer and business privacy concerns, fast facts and recent research stats, resources, events and – most important – how to get involved.
  • Infographic – Your Personal Information is Like Money – Value it. Protect it.: You are continuously generating data about yourself and others, and your personal information is the fuel that makes connected devices work. Learn what you can do now to manage your privacy.
  • Lock Down Your Login: Usernames and passwords are no longer enough to keep your accounts secure. Anyone with your username and password can access your account. Visit to easily learn how to move beyond the password and better secure your online accounts.
  • Check Your Privacy Settings: Want to view or change your privacy/security settings, but don’t know where to find them? NCSA has an easy-to-use resource with direct links to update your privacy settings on popular devices and online services.
  • #CyberAware Newsletter#CyberAware is a monthly newsletter – created for families – by NCSA. Each month, the newsletter shares family online safety news and resources and the latest from the Stay Safe Online blog. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.
  • STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Tips and Advice: Practice good online safety habits by following these tips and advice from STOP. THINK. CONNECT. ™, the global online safety education and awareness campaign.
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security: The DHS Stop.Think.Connect.™ Toolkit has several resources for people looking to be more #PrivacyAware this Data Privacy Day.
  • ForgeRock: Insights and Info that Consumers Need to Know: The fast-growing Internet of Things and changing regulations in the US and Europe are driving organizations across multiple industry sectors to seek out new ways to protect consumer data privacy. Read the report from ForgeRock.
  • LifeLock: Talk with your kids about the importance of privacy when using their devices. The Smart Talk created by LifeLock and National PTA is a free and easy way to have a conversation about privacy and online safety – and print a personalized agreement between you and your child.
  • Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT): Whether you’re an activist taking to the streets to protest or a journalist trying to uncover the truth about corrupt officials, your personal cybersecurity has never been more important. As we face an era of increased threats to our democratic rights, we all must take steps to ensure that our devices and digital communications are private and secure. Take this cybersecurity self-assessment quiz from CDT. 
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Every day, you share information about yourself with businesses and their affiliates. In fact, you might not realize just how often it happens. View  this FTC video to see the kinds of information you’re sharing every day.
  • Future of Privacy Forum: Check out the Future of Privacy Forum’s compilation of resources for best data privacy practices.
  • FERPA|SHERPA provides service providers, parents, school officials and policymakers easy access to laws, best practices and guidelines that are essential to understanding education privacy. FERPA|Sherpa is a project of the Future of Privacy Forum, the Data Quality Campaign and partners.
  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: This guide from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse explains how your online activities may compromise your privacy and describes steps you can take to protect yourself. 

About Data Privacy Day

The National Cyber Security Alliance’s (NCSA) privacy awareness campaign is an integral component of STOP. THINK. CONNECT.TM ‒ the global online safety, security and privacy campaign. Data Privacy Day is the signature event for the campaign and is officially organized by NCSA in North America. Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Cisco, Intel and Twitter are Leading Sponsors of the 2017 privacy awareness campaign. ForgeRock and LifeLock, Inc., are Contributing Sponsors. Privacy Ref is a Supporting Sponsor. The hashtag for NCSA’s privacy campaign efforts is #PrivacyAware. 

About the National Cyber Security Alliance

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NCSA's Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; AT&T Services, Inc.; Bank of America; Barclays; BlackBerry Corporation; CDK Global, LLC; Cisco; Comcast Corporation; ESET North America; Facebook; Google; Intel Corporation; LifeLock, Inc, Logical Operations; MasterCard; Microsoft Corp.; NXP Semiconductors; PayPal; PKWARE; Raytheon; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; Salesforce; SANS Institute; Symantec and Visa Inc. NCSA’s core efforts include National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (January 28) and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™, the global online safety awareness and education campaign cofounded by NCSA and the Anti Phishing Working Group, with federal government leadership from DHS. For more information on NCSA, please visit  

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