Data Privacy Day on January 28

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Data Privacy Day is held every year on January 28. This is the day that many countries around the world focus on how technology is impacting our privacy rights and the importance of protecting our personal information.

Learning more about the modern-day risks of having our financial assets stolen electronically is in everyone’s best interest.

Historically, one manner of theft was having someone break into your house and steal your TV and jewelry. That still happens but the smart criminals know there are far better opportunities.

Criminals around the world want to steal your identity. Once that has been accomplished, they can use the information to steal your financial assets.

At least when your TV was stolen you realized right away you had been a victim. With a cybercrime you can be oblivious to the theft as it is happening and possibly for some time afterward.

The Privacy and Access Council of Canada website has some interesting information.

Data Privacy Day started in Canada and United States in January 2008. However, the concerns of data privacy have existed for decades.

European countries signed a legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection in 1981. That tells us data privacy risks are not new.

An obvious question is: why, suddenly, should we be so concerned about data privacy if that risk has been around for so long?

The simple answer is technology. Everyone understands our lives are so much easier now with simple-to-use advanced technology. It seems nothing is impossible these days.

That same advanced technology is being used by some very sophisticated criminal elements. Crime centres that prey on unsuspecting victims are well financed, technologically advanced, have well-qualified trained staff, and are extremely profitable.

Feedback we have had from law enforcement officers is that this type of criminal activity is very hard to combat. Many crime centres that are stealing from Canadians are located outside our country which compounds the complexity of law-enforcement.

Next week this column will include some practical tips on how to protect yourself from cybercrime.