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It’s Monday, January 28th, 2008. The start of a new workweek for many, the end of a workweek for some, and just another day for so many young twenty-somethings in Los Angeles who, uh, “don’t work.” You know who I mean.

That being said, it is also “Data Privacy Day,” according to a representative of the Bush Administration, and the IAPP.

What is the IAPP, you ask? Good question. I had never heard of it until today, which is curious, considering that I’ve been working in the online sphere for quite some time, and have blogged about the topic of online privacy on more than one occasion. At any rate, perhaps I am just late to the party on this one (or perhaps not).

The IAPP is the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Their mission, according to their website, is as follows:

” The mission of the IAPP is to define, promote, and improve the privacy profession globally. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is the world’s largest association of privacy professionals. Based in York, Maine, U.S.A., the organization represents over 4,000 members from businesses, governments and academia across 32 countries. Founded in 2001, the IAPP was established to define, promote and improve the privacy profession globally. The IAPP is committed to providing a forum for privacy professionals to share best practices, track trends, advance privacy management issues, standardize the designations for privacy professionals, and provide education and guidance on opportunities in the field of privacy. The IAPP is responsible for developing and launching the first broad-based credentialing program in information privacy, the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP). The CIPP remains the leading certification for privacy professionals today. In addition, the IAPP offers a full suite of educational services tailored to privacy professionals, and holds the annual Academy and the Summit conferences, recognized as the principal medium for the discussion and debate of issues related to privacy policy and practice.”

Founded in 2001? Umm. Okay. So I’m seven years late to the party. Add the fact that there are corporate members of the IAPP who exist at various “levels” to the mix and the whole operation becomes even more curious. So curious, in fact, that I decided to go ahead and call the number listed on their website for more information.

Unfortunately, there was no live receptionist (although one is listed in their “Staff” section) and no menu option for those looking for answers to “General Questions.” Hmm. I ended up leaving a message for their Marketing Director, the closest thing I found to a PR rep. I’ll let you know if I receive a call back.

Onward, back to “Data Privacy Day.” Apparently this is the first year that the United States and Canada are joining in the celebration, which culminates in a conference on privacy at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina entitled “Data Privacy in Transatlantic perspective: Conflict or Cooperation?” Huh?

Likewise, Google, who is listed as a “corporate member” of the IAPP, is also doing its part, and today released the third video on search privacy on it’s Privacy Channel, as hosted by YouTube, which was recently launched in November 2007.

Oh, and the whole thing is sponsored by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), among others.

Alright, I’m going to call a spade a spade here and admit that I’m not very knowledgeable about the origins of this “Data Privacy Day,” certainly not enough to wax poetic on the subject. And I find it interesting that the information I have come across thus far online all seems to regurgitate the same facts over and over, facts I have already mentioned in this blog – and I’m writing about it for these very reasons.

I am curious how all of this came to be, and why. And I’m curious as to whom “Data Privacy Day” really benefits in the end.

Any insight on this mystery is welcome. Please post your thoughts below.

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