Support Digital Rights Ireland by pledging just €5 or €10 a month

Today (Sunday) is European Data Protection Day.

Other posts: DRI 1 (how to protect your own data) | DRI 2 (press release) | Silicon Republic | Cearta | Cloudlands | TCAL | (Antoin has a very persuasive post about the importance of data protection even for ‘minor’ details)
(I’ll add others here as I see them, leave a comment to speed things up…)

A 2003 Eurobarometer survey on the protection of privacy in the European Union showed that 70% of European citizens feel they know little about what is done in their country to protect their personal data.

However, data protection issues are central in citizens’ lives: at work, in their relations with public authorities, in the health field, when they travel or surf the internet. The right to data protection is also the prerequisite for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of speech or conscience.

Therefore, in 2007, for the first time, the Council of Europe will be celebrating a Data Protection Day on 28 January. This will be the occasion for European citizens to become more aware of personal data protection and of what their rights and responsibilities are in that regard.

As this post is getting a lot of traffic, I should explain why I’m banging on about Digital Rights Ireland etc. The ‘official’ activities, mostly based around press releases from national data protection commissioners and agencies, are all well and good. In fact, coordinating them is to be welcomed. However, I believe that it’s important to take a more realistic and constructive approach (data rights being about action, not just consumption of political messages and all that), and thus there is a clear connection between vague calls by public authorities to ‘protect your data’ through existing statutory methods and concrete calls to change bad governmental practices and worse laws. Start with DRI’s five steps (which include personal, practical and political actions of various sorts), but please don’t stop there: get involved, get angry and get active!

Update: Antoin O Lachtnain has a perfect example – he says:

One area I am concerned about is the workings of supermarket loyalty cards, and the amount of information connected with them. It would be great if anyone would be interested in working with Digital Rights Ireland to help research this.