By Natsai Mhosva
Access to information is central to the Post 2015 development agenda as it empowers everyone, including those living in poverty, to exercise their rights & learn new skills. There is need however to look beyond the access to information and put great importance on data protection. In an age of Freedom of Information, as well as Access to Information, it is of grave importance that the usage and exchange of data remains protected. As we call for ratification and the right to information from governments and various stakeholders, it is paramount that we honor the statute of being a good online citizen, and this means practicing conscientious data stewardship. Data protection is an essential tool for the advancement of Women’s Rights across the globe. The sharing of information, various platforms that exist as well as the mere networking and connection that takes place all are factors that rely on secure data & privacy online.
On the 28th of January the world commemorated Data Protection Day, also known as Privacy Day. This year marked the 8th edition of Data Protection Day. Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint, and make the protection of privacy and data a great priority in their lives. It means there should be efforts to protect my usage of the internet, to maintain levels of privacy that assure me that my time and space online, remains mine. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote data privacy education.
Data Privacy Day’s educational initiative originally focused on raising awareness among teens and young adults about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking and increasing cyber crime and online forms of violence that are often played out in reality. The educational focus has expanded over the past four years to include families, consumers and businesses. In addition to its educational initiative, Data Privacy Day promotes events and activities that stimulate the development of technology tools that promote individual control over personally identifiable information; encourage compliance with privacy laws and regulations; and create dialogues among stakeholders interested in advancing data protection and privacy. The international celebration offers many opportunities for collaboration among governments, industry, academia, nonprofits, privacy professionals and educators.
It is a sure fact that data flows freely in today’s online world. Everyone – from home computer users to multinational corporations – needs to be aware of the personal data others have entrusted to them and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it. You too can be an essential part of ensuring data protection across all your networks. So, as we ensure that access to information is an integral part of the Post 2015 Development agenda, we need to dutifully remember the importance of data protection.
To get more information on FEMNET’s engagement on access to information, click here.
Natsai Mhosva is an Exchange Fellow from Zimbabwe with FEMNET. Engage with her on twitter @natsiemhosva