28 January - Data Protection Day

© ShutterstockComputer processing of personal data is a central part of citizens' lives, at work, in their dealings with the authorities, in the medical sphere, when they purchase goods or services, and when they surf the Internet. The right to protection of this information is also a prerequisite for the exercise of other fundamental rights, such as the right to protection of privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of conscience.

In order to offer everyone protection in this field, the Council of Europe drew up a Convention to protect personal data which remains the only binding international legal instrument in this field. Any country may accede to the Convention, whether or not it is a member of the Council of Europe.

The aim of Data Protection Day, which is marked on 28 January each year, is to give citizens an opportunity to understand what kind of data about them is collected and processed, why this is done, and what rights they have in respect of such processing. It is also an opportunity for them to become more aware of the inherent risks associated with the unlawful use or clandestine processing of their personal data.

Data protection Day 2012

The Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, known as "Convention 108" has become a model for data protection legislation in Europe and beyond since its opening for signature on 28 January 1981. It has been ratified by 43 member states of the Council of Europe and is open for signature by any country in the world.

This year's Data Protection Day will be special for the Council of Europe as it is currently modernising its Convention.

On this occasion it is organising in Brussels, on 27 January 2012, at the International Conference on Computer, Privacy and Data Protection, a session enabling a multistakeholder consultation on the proposals of modification of Convention 108.


Data protection Day 2011

The Council of Europe is celebrating in 2011 the 30th anniversary of its Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, known as ''Convention 108''. This Convention is a cornerstone of privacy and personal data protection in Europe.

At a conference organised in Brussels on ''Data protection (30 years later): from European to international standards'', the Council of Europe and the European Commission reaffirmed their joint commitment in the promotion of the fundamental right to data protection. At this event a consultation, organised in the context of the ongoing modernisation of Convention 108, was initiated. (more...)

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Did you know that...

... each interested member State, national or international body, may participate in the Data Protection Day on a voluntary basis