Welcome to Data Privacy Month 2018!

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January 28 is Data Privacy Day. Throughout the months of January and February, the EDUCAUSE Cybersecurity Program will highlight higher education privacy issues. To learn more, visit our awareness campaigns page.

Have you ever Googled yourself and been slightly disappointed in your search results? Or, slightly relieved? I had an occasion to do just that recently. As I was viewing the results, I was thankful that the Internet wasn't at the core of my social interactions during my high school and college years. I shudder to think of how extensive the search results will be for today's college students. Today, 66% of students own two or three Internet-capable devices (and 32% own four or more): 78% of students connect these devices to campus networks simultaneously;1 86% of adults (age 18–29) use at least one social media site each day, and over 75% of Facebook users reporting that they visit the site daily.2 Now more than ever, it is crucial to understand how to take steps to safeguard one's privacy.

Data Privacy Day promo image

January 28 marks Data Privacy Day in the United States and Data Protection Day across much of the rest of the world. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of the privacy issues in our connected, digital, always-on information age. Since 2012, EDUCAUSE has celebrated Data Privacy Day with our partners at the National Cyber Security Alliance and with other Data Privacy Day champions.

Throughout January and February 2018, the EDUCAUSE Cybersecurity Program will focus on sharing tips, tools, and best practices that help our constituents respect individual privacy, safeguard institutional data, and establish trust. Some of our activities this month include:

  • An EDUCAUSE Live! webinar on January 25 to kick off our privacy awareness activities
  • Weekly Security Matters blog posts authored by higher education privacy experts discussing hot topics in privacy
  • Resources shared via our Data Privacy Day page
  • Tips shared by @HEISCouncil on Twitter using the hashtag #PrivacyAware
  • Customizable content and suggested resources on privacy from the 2018 Campus Security Awareness Campaign, developed by HEISC Awareness and Training Working Group volunteers

And for those of you attending the ELI Annual Meeting in New Orleans (January 29–31, 2018), don't miss a chance to hear the Future of Privacy Forum's CEO Jules Polonetsky speak.

Finally, EDUCAUSE is a proud Data Privacy Day Champion, and we encourage other higher education institutions to join us — 60 joined us as champions in 2017. There is no financial requirement, and it signals that your institution is committed to raising privacy awareness.

Campus Privacy Program and CPO Resources

The following resources were created by members of the EDUCAUSE Higher Education Chief Privacy Officers Working Group to help campus CPOs kick-start or enhance their privacy programs.


  1. EDUCAUSE, The EDUCAUSE Almanac for Undergraduate Student and Technology Survey, 2017, ECAR, August 2017.
  2. Shannon Greenwood, Andrew Perrin, and Maeve Duggan, "Social Media Update 2016," Pew Research Center, November 11, 2016.

Joanna Lyn Grama is the director of cybersecurity and IT GRC programs at EDUCAUSE.

© 2018 Joanna Lyn Grama. This EDUCAUSE Review blog is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0.