The “observance” of Data Privacy Day annually on January began in 2008. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) will be kicking off today’s events with a live stream of its press conference in Washington, DC. You can access the stream at the NCSA’s Facebook page here.

Data privacy — and data security — has been in the headlines across the world in the last few months, putting a new focus on Data Privacy Day. These stories have reinvigorated old debates, and prompted new questions, about the increasingly complex relationship between individuals, online data they create or is about them, and how data is protected and shared.

The theme of Data Privacy Day 2014 is Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data, and Enabling Trust. It is a call to action for everyone — individuals, governments and organizations — to be good stewards of the data they create, access, and use. Sources are indicating that at least the Target data breach (and possibly others) may have been caused by an employee clicking on a phishing email which allowed malware to infect the company’s network.

The NCSA’s global cybersecurity awareness campaign, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. can be implemented in your own organization and in your own use of the Internet.

  • Keep a clean machine. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Secure your accounts. Create long, strong and unique passwords and enable multi-factor authentication for online accounts.
  • Own your online presence. Set privacy and security settings on websites and social networks to your comfort level of sharing.
  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. If you’re online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.
  • Disable auto-connect. Check your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings to be sure you connect manually to networks you trust. Automatically connecting to Wi-Fi can leave you vulnerable to hackers and others.
  • Think before you app. Understand what information an app accesses on your mobile device. A study conducted by Raytheon last fall found less than half (44 percent) of Millenials read the privacy policy of an app before they download it.

Use today to encourage employees to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.