Happy Data Privacy Day!


January is filled with many unusual “days”—Jan. 8 is Bubble Bath Day, Jan. 13 is National Rubber Duckie Day and Jan. 24 is Beer Can Appreciation Day. Jan. 28 is Fun at Work Day, but it is also Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day started in the U.S. and Canada in 2008, as an extension of Data Protection Day celebration in Europe, which commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981 signing of Convention 108: the first legally binding international treaty addressing privacy and data protection, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. “Data Privacy Day is the signature event in a greater privacy awareness and education effort,” according to NCSA.

Threats against data security have recently dominated the headlines, including revelations that nearly 1.5 billion Yahoo! Inc. user accounts may have been compromised. However, digital hackers aren’t the only threats in town—there are also, visual hackers.

To highlight its commitment to Data Privacy Day, global manufacturing company 3M Co. recently offered guidance and resources for mobile workers to protect themselves against visual hacking. Four out of five mobile workers said that they have caught someone looking over their shoulder at their computer screen in a public space, 3M said. According to the Minnesota-based conglomerate, 91 percent of visual hacking attempts were successful. 

“Low-tech threats to data privacy, like visually hacking a laptop or smartphone screen, are often overlooked,” 3M Global Business Director Nicola Stevens said in a release. 

3M suggested practicing “situational awareness when working in public spaces,” using privacy filters to shield sensitive information displayed on screen and accessing confidential data in public “only when necessary.”

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