28 January - Data Protection Day

Data-Protection-Day-small4-portraitIOM celebrates Data Protection Day this year with an IOM poster that focuses on Data protection Principle #4: CONSENT.

Data protection is about preserving the universal and fundamental right to privacy, enjoyed by all human beings. Data protection is the systematic application of a set of institutional, technical and physical safeguards that are used to preserve the right to privacy with respect to the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal data. The right to privacy applies to all individuals, including migrants, without distinction of nationality and regardless of their migration status. In the absence of appropriate safeguards, personal data can be used for reasons unrelated to its intended purpose, without the knowledge of the individuals concerned and contrary to their expectations.

In the migration context, unauthorized and inappropriate use or disclosure can lead to risks ranging from physical violence to profiling and discrimination. A migrant, for example, could be placed in harmís way if his/her HIV status is inadvertently revealed in a community where the status is seen as
taboo. IOMís strategy for handling personal data seeks to protect the confidentiality of personal data and the anonymity of the person concerned throughout the data processing cycle.

Data Protection Day is an awareness day first introduced in 2007 by the European Data Protection Supervisor to mark the anniversary of the 1981 Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. It is now a global celebration commemorated every year on 28 January.

IOM has published a manual on how to protect the personal data of the migrants in its care. The IOM Data Protection Manual is the first publication of its kind to provide such guidance in the context of migration. It outlines how staff should handle personal information given to them by IOM beneficiaries in their care, with a view to protecting their privacy.

The IOM Data Protection Manual is available here: