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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 2012 - Safeguarding privacy: A global challenge requires a global response

Strasbourg 28/01/2012
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© Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

On the eve of “Data Protection Day”, the Council of Europe is holding on 27 January a consultation with representatives of the private sector and civil society to discuss its latest proposals to modernise the Data Protection Convention.

“Privacy has probably never been as fragile as it is today. Enormous amounts of personal data are processed and flow almost instantly across borders. The challenge is global, and so must be the response. Our convention is the only binding data protection treaty with real international reach. We aim to bring together a community of nations that share common data protection principles and practices”, said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

“We need greater transparency to ensure that users are informed of what is happening with their data, and that they can actually consent - or not - to it being processed. Public or private entities must be accountable for the personal data they process. The legal framework we create has to be flexible yet robust, so it does not hamper innovation, and strikes a fair balance between the free flow of data and the need for protection of individuals”, he added.