This Friday, January 28, is Data Privacy Day! Don’t worry if you don’t have anything planned to mark the data at your library – you still have some time for some last-minute planning. You can check out last year’s Data Privacy Day post for some last-minute ideas. This year’s Data Privacy Day, though, should include a couple of other things to make it more meaningful at your library.
We won’t be the first privacy folks to admit that it’s hard to get people excited about privacy – even for Data Privacy Day – unless it involves cookies or cake. Now that the National Cybersecurity Alliance expanded Data Privacy Day into an entire week, where does one even begin? The NCA suggests that organizations conduct assessments, adopt privacy frameworks, and create a culture of privacy through educating employees. However, most of these suggestions go well beyond a week that’s supposed to be celebrating and raising awareness, and there’s still a lack of baked goods. We’re not saying that everyone is motivated by baked goods, but while all the suggestions are vital to protect data privacy in daily operations, these suggestions are not precisely celebratory by default.
Data Privacy Day (or Week) should not only raise awareness around data privacy issues, but it should also be a time for recognition and celebration of the work done around data privacy. Like other work in libraries, privacy work can go unacknowledged or unnoticed, even though the work impacts all levels of library operations and services. Data Privacy Day is an opportunity to take stock of what your library has accomplished in the past year and acknowledge the people behind those accomplishments, be it individuals, teams, or collaborations between groups. Highlighting these accomplishments can also help push back against the feeling like no progress is being made. Privacy is multifaceted – it’s not uncommon for us at LDH to get comments from library workers about not realizing just how complex data privacy can be. Making a concerted effort to acknowledge and celebrate progress – no matter how small – can help mitigate feeling overwhelmed about data privacy overall.
Data Privacy Day should also be a day where your library can set priorities around privacy for the following year. Perhaps that could be continuing ongoing work planning to make that work sustainable in the long run. New projects and initiatives can also be on the privacy priority list, but don’t limit yourself to projects that can be wrapped up neatly in a bow by the end of the year. Instead, focus on what can be realistically achieved by next year. Having a dedicated day like Data Privacy Day can also help with accountability – what are persistent privacy issues at your library? How will your library address these ongoing privacy issues? Make an action plan and check in with that plan the next time Data Privacy Day comes around – what progress has been made? What barriers and challenges did you overcome, and which ones still need to be addressed to continue progress?
Overall, Data Privacy Day should be a day to raise awareness of data privacy issues and a day for celebration and reflection. It should be a day where your library recognizes the often-invisible work many library workers do around privacy. It should also be a day where the library holds itself accountable and determine what needs to be done to address persistent privacy issues in the upcoming year. Being deliberate in the day’s celebrations can make Data Privacy Day into something more meaningful for your library.
Three Years and Counting
This last week also marked the third (!) anniversary of LDH! 2021 proved to be as challenging as 2020; nevertheless, we persevered thanks to your support throughout the year. 2021 also proved to be a hectic year! ICYMI, here are some of the things that happened at LDH in the past year:
- Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Best Practices Train-the-Trainer Handbook
- Licensing Privacy Vendor Contract and Policy Rubric (white paper forthcoming)
- ALA Privacy Field Guides (website forthcoming)
- Evergreen International Conference Keynote (recording and slides)
- … and our pandemic book (stay tuned for more information in the coming months!)
LDH can help your library or organization protect patron privacy in your data practices, from privacy training and policy reviews to data audits and risk assessments. Contact us to set up an initial consultation – we look forward to hearing from you in the coming year.