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It’s Data Privacy Day – What Exactly Does That Mean?

maurice wutscher data privacy lawIn 2006 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe designated each Jan. 28 as Data Protection Day, known outside of Europe as Data Privacy Day. It marks the day in 1981 that Convention 108 of the Council of Europe became open for signature.

Formally known as The Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (CETS No. 108), signatory nations to Convention 108 agree to secure “for every individual, whatever his nationality or residence, respect for his rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular his right to privacy, with regard to automatic processing of personal data relating to him (‘data protection’).”  Convention 108 is remarkable because it was the first binding international legal protection of personal information. Today marks its 40th Anniversary.

There are 54 signatories to Convention 108 and participation is not limited to European nations. You can see the full list of signatories here. Although Congress has passed several resolutions over the years recognizing today as Data Privacy Day, the United States is not a signatory of Convention 108. There are other notable exceptions such as Canada and China.

Apart from its history, Data Privacy Day is an opportunity to raise awareness on data protection rights and there are a host of conferences and events exploring the topic this week. You can get a list here. The Consumer Financial Services Blog has several resources devoted to data privacy and security. Our numerous articles exploring various issues in data privacy can be accessed by clicking this link or by selecting “Data Privacy and Security” in the Topics section. And if you would rather see a video devoted to current data privacy law, you are welcome to view our California Consumer Privacy Act webinar on demand here.

Finally, to mark the sixth year of our work in data privacy and security, over the following weeks we will be rolling out content from Maurice Wutscher’s Data Privacy and Security Group exploring existing and pending legislation and useful tools to enhance your data privacy compliance program.

I wish you all a safe and happy Data Privacy Day!

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Donald Maurice provides counsel to the financial services industry, successfully litigating matters in the state and federal courts in individual and class actions. He has successfully argued before the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and has represented the financial services industry before several courts including as counsel for amicus curiae before the United States Supreme Court. He counsels clients in regulatory actions before the CFPB, and other federal and state regulators and in the development and testing of debt collection compliance systems. Don is peer-rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the worldwide guide to lawyers. In addition to being a frequent speaker and author on consumer financial services law, he serves as outside counsel to RMA International, on the governing Board of Regents of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers, and on the New York City Bar Association's Consumer Affairs Committee. From 2014 to 2017, he chaired the ABA's Bankruptcy and Debt Collection Subcommittee. For more information, see

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