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Sunday, Jan. 28 ring a bell? It marks 2018’s Data Privacy Day.

If you’re left wondering why celebrate data privacy, you might be new to the IAPP. Data Privacy Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of privacy and data protection as well as to unite privacy professionals worldwide in celebrating the first legally binding international treaty dealing with the protection of personal data, Convention 108, signed Jan. 28, 1981. The day, known as Data Protection Day in Europe, is celebrated across the U.S., Canada, and 27 countries in the EU.

Often, privacy professionals describe feeling isolated professionally. Often the only position dedicated to ensuring privacy and data protection within the company, it is easy to feel secluded from other employees despite there being an army of privacy pros worldwide. Events such as “Privacy After Hours” help privacy professionals to come together, discuss their jobs, and share their experiences, challenges and successes. With the growth of the privacy profession on the rise, this year’s Data Privacy Day could be the biggest yet.

Canada Data Privacy Day- Privacy After Hours Event

We know some companies have already started planning this year’s events, so to get a sense of why IAPP members participate, The Privacy Advisor recently caught up with hosts from last year’s “Privacy After Hours” events to share some of the highlights.

Alysha Canton, CIPP/C, CIPM, associate privacy compliance manager with London Life Insurance Company, saw volunteering for Data Privacy Day as a great way to meet fellow privacy professionals in her area, across different organizations, and as a way to get involved with the IAPP. 

“We talked about our industries, our current roles and how we got into privacy, some of our challenges, and interesting stories," said Canton. "Since many organizations in London [Ontario] are small and only have a few (or maybe one) person dedicated to privacy, it is valuable to meet other people who share similar interests and careers.”

Canton is now the Young Privacy Professional for the IAPP's Toronto chapter and says she would like to plan a similar networking event in London to mark this year's Data Privacy Day.

Karen Siemers, CIPP/E, CIPM, legal consultant at Privacy Management Partners, hosted 50 privacy professionals at last year's Data Privacy Day event and echoed a similar feeling. Siemers said it was a night where privacy professionals shared "serious compliance issues and pragmatic solutions" based off of their own experiences.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to make this happen for other privacy professionals with a passion for the job and appreciate the work of IAPP for creating a broader network that without a doubt strengthen in near future by the community itself," she said. "As chair of KnowledgeNet Netherlands, I hope to contribute on a structural level to an enhanced knowledgeable network of privacy professionals."

Netherlands Data Privacy Day- Privacy After Hours

Netherlands Data Privacy Day- Privacy After Hours Event

 This year, remember why the world celebrates Data Privacy Day and meet up with some privacy pros to celebrate. Jan. 28 will be here sooner than you know! 

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