by Nathan Lea and Maria Christofidou

In 2006, the Council of Europe crowned 28th January as the date that Data Protection Day would be celebrated annually. Data Protection Day commemorates the anniversary for the opening for signatures of Convention 108, the Council of Europe’s data protection convention. It is celebrated globally and often referred to as Privacy Day outside Europe.

Today, we reflect on the work that Europe has done to balance the need for protecting rights, freedoms and personal privacy and the need to support and enhance the digital economy. The European Commission has, since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), worked hard towards efforts for the implementation of policies and regulations which are fit for the digital age we live in while also ensuring trustworthy and safe use and re-use of data.

Today is a day that i~HD reflects on solemnly and with hope because Data Protection and Privacy are core to our founding principles and our work. We lead on several EU projects for data protection and ethics, we have developed codes of practice for the safe and effective use of data, we have co-run roundtables exploring the impact of novel innovation approaches including Artificial Intelligence, and we have developed educational, outreach and quality assessments for Information Governance, ethics and their role in data driven innovation.

i~HD stresses the importance of data protection, privacy and rights of data subjects’ whose data are being processed. Whilst the GDPR has become a benchmark for privacy regulation and protection of personal information and data, there is still an outstanding need to be met for discovery and facilitation of research.

We invite our members and the health data research community all across the world to join in these celebrations and to reflect on what makes all our efforts great and things to be proud of, but also how we can continue to meet challenges that arise, whether it is in understanding how to protect data without stifling innovation, having brave and meaningful discourse to address people’s anxieties, or working with legislators to address the drafting and implementation of new laws, guidelines and standards.

About Nathan Lea (PhD)
DPO and Information Governance Lead, i~HD

Nathan has focused his work on operational security and design implementation and he has an interest in understanding the legal, ethical and societal impacts and concerns around novel health data uses

Read his profile here

Maria Christofidou

About Maria Christofidou
Early Stage Researcher, i~HD
Maria graduated from the University of Kent with a LLB in Law (2012-2015) and followed on to study at the University of Edinburgh where she graduated with a LLM in European Law (2015-2016).

Read her profile here