Today is global Data Privacy Day and companies all around the world are marking it in different ways. Below we've highlighted some of the activities of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Opera and IBM.

Those actions range from implementing new technologies through making blog posts highlighting existing policies. Do you feel like these companies are responsive to your concerns about data privacy in 2011?

Microsoft put up a blog post highlighting its strong security measures baked into Hotmail and Windows Live. That's nice.

European mobile mega-browser company Opera posted the results of an interesting survey it commissioned regarding digital privacy concerns around the world. One highlight:

Worried about who is watching you online? Some 38% of Russian respondents were most concerned about social-networking websites having too much insight into their online behavior, far ahead of 15% in the United States and 10% in Japan, where social media ranked number 2. U.S. participants were most concerned about the government (35%). Japan held least trust in shopping sites (33%), while only 5% and 6% respectively in Russia and United States shared the same anxiety. Between 13 and 19% of respondents in each country were not worried about anyone gaining insight into their online activities.

Facebook implemented HTTPS secure connections so that users don't get hijacked by Firesheep and other such programs. The company also faced widespread criticism on privacy, again, now for this week's move to allow advertisers to sponsor particular status updates from users.

Google is hosting a public hearing in Washington DC called "The Technology of Privacy: When Geeks Meet Wonks." A video of that hearing will be posted on the Google Privacy channel on YouTube. Alma Whitten, Google's Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering, is clearly committed to balancing peoples' privacy interests with the interests in innovation held by Google and its users.

My favorite big company move is probably IBM's running of a column on the topic on its Smarter Planet blog. Harriet Pearson, VP Security Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer at IBM, focuses on the Internet of Things and the importance of securing trust through privacy in order to build sustainable technology that can change the world.

What's at stake? Plenty. Getting data privacy "right" is an economic and social imperative. Trust and confidence in the security and privacy of the critical systems of our planet - especially the digital version of its central nervous system, the Internet - is foundational to individuals' continued engagement and reliance on such things as online commerce, e-health and smart grids. If individual consumers don't feel that their privacy and security are protected, they will not support modernization efforts, even though the capabilities of technology advancements are proven and the potential benefits to society are extensive.

What's at the forefront of your mind about digital privacy, here on this Digital Privacy Day?


Disclosure: IBM is also a ReadWriteWeb sponsor.