Amidst all the ugly headlines, debates from Congress to Silicon Valley and consumer unrest, it hardly seems like online privacy deserves its own day. But, that’s just what it has as today, January 28, marks Data Privacy Day, the annual day designated in the U.S. and Europe to raise awareness for digital privacy and protections.

And because a day like Data Privacy Day is really like Christmas morning for digital, online, social networking geeks everywhere, we forgo the presents and instead unwrap the latest online privacy-related headlines, news and updates for you, our readers.

  • Americans are more worried about having their online privacy violated than about declaring bankruptcy or losing their jobs, but fewer than two-thirds of those surveyed used safe passwords, only about half deleted their browsing history, and just 15 percent used software that made it difficult for websites to collect personal information, according to a new survey from Opera Software and market-research company YouGov released today to coincide with Data Privacy Day.
  • Microsoft celebrated the day by releasing a blog post on what they’ve been doing lately to protect user accounts and Hotmail.
  • Google took to its Official Google Blog, to announce new security measures, specifically…”the availability of 2-step verification, an advanced account security solution that is now helping protect more than 1,000 new accounts a day from common problems like phishing and password compromise,” to be rolled out soon.
  • The online search giant also took the day to host a public discussion on privacy in Washington, D.C., no doubt potentially intruded by a 47-second animation of CEO Eric Schmidt from Consumer Watchdog to be played via mobile advertising truck as panelists and audience members arrive.
  • Meanwhile, in another reminder for social networkers to be careful online, Reuters reports that more and more, judges are allowing “private” Facebook to be used in court cases. The article includes this attention-grabbing quote from Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology: “You do have a right of privacy in your private Facebook postings. But in the context of litigation, that right can be overcome.”
  • In Congress, Politico’s Morning Tech reports, “the Kerry bill has undergone some transformation since we first told you the senator planned to move on privacy in the next few months. We’re now hearing from sources in the know he’s seeking a Republican co-sponsor ahead of introduction, which is expected soon. Stay tuned.”
  • Morning Tech also found executives from Intel and eBay meeting with key congressional lawmakers this week. “Intel’s Global Privacy Officer David Hoffman and Director of Cyber Tech Tom Quillin joined eBay privacy chief Jonathan Fox for meetings with John Kerry, Henry Waxman, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Pat Leahy, Mark Pryor, Mary Bono Mack and Marsha Blackburn. Their emphasis: “We all believe some form of legislation is necessary to lay a foundation of trust on the Internet,” Hoffman said, mentioning support for the Rush bill and plans for self-regulatory safe harbors.”

Beyond the headlines, though, don’t let this day go by without doing a little privacy round up yourself: