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On 26 April 2006, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decided to launch a Data Protection Day, to be celebrated each year on 28 January.

This date corresponds to the anniversary of the opening for signature of the Council of Europe's Convention 108 for the Protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data which has been for over 30 years a cornerstone of data protection, in Europe and beyond.

Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called the "Privacy Day" outside Europe.

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Data Protection Day 2011

Brussels 28/01/2011
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© Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

On 28 January 2011, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and its Member States have celebrated Data Protection Day for the fifth time.

Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and Ms Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, decided to seize this opportunity to organise a high-level joint event to allow both institutions to join forces and to promote the fundamental right to data protection.

The event organised in Brussels marked the 30th anniversary of the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, known as “Convention 108”, which was opened for signature on 28 January 1981. The event also marked the beginning of a public consult ation organised in the context of the modernisation of Convention 108.

It gathered over 300 participants (from 32 countries) representing diplomatic missions to the EU, data protection authorities, industry, NGOs, academics, government officials, representatives of international organisations and privacy lawyers.

This event was a success both in terms of level of participation and visibility, as Convention 108 was referred to on several occasions as a unique international instrument and its potential to be applied worldwide was underlined.

“Confronted with the challenges raised by the rapid development of information technology, privacy rights matter more than ever. The Data Protection Convention has been a key tool for ensuring this right for 30 years and must be adapted to ensure this for the next 30 years as well ,” Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said, emphasising “the need for a truly international framework that is human rights based, flexible, transparent and inclusive.”