person with face hidden for 3 ways to practice data privacy

3 Ways to Practice Data Privacy

This is one you’re going to want to ‘opt into.’Data Privacy Week Champion badge 2023

Data Privacy Week returns January 22-28, 2023, to urge individuals and businesses to manage and protect their data. Infinity, Inc. is proud to be a Champion of this initiative once again and to provide 3 ways to practice data privacy as individuals. Businesses looking for data privacy best practices should check back soon.

What is Data Privacy Week?

Data Privacy Week is an annual effort expanded from Data Privacy Day, an international initiative since 2008. Its goal is to raise awareness of the proper handling of the massive amounts of information we generate online. Individuals need to know the power they have to manage their data, and businesses need to understand the importance of respecting their users’ data. We live in a world where this has become critical to public safety.

Infinity, Inc. CEO Chuck Brown says,

“Think through just one average day of your life. You wake up and pick up your cell phone. You check social media, which is tracking your location, interests, and friends. You check your email which tells businesses your news and shopping preferences. You go to work, providing geographical information, and use the Internet, building a search history of terms and questions. Data about you is constantly being compiled without you consciously choosing to share your thoughts. As a father, voter, and consumer, this concerns me and makes me want to disconnect completely sometimes. And as a business owner, this keeps me up at night, worrying about what we need or don’t need to track, the best way to safely store it, and how to protect our clients.”

Data Privacy Week provides the tips and information you need to handle data more securely in your business and to better protect yourself and your family as well. Keep reading for 3 ways to practice data privacy, and join us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube for more during Data Privacy Week to learn how to take back control of your valuable online data.

How You Can Practice Data Privacy

As Chuck describes above, all your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviors, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take or tracks your sleeping or heart rate.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with.

Here are 3 easy ways to help you manage your data privacy:

1. Know the Tradeoff Between Privacy and Convenience

When you download a new app, open a new online account, or join a new social media platform, you will often be asked for access to your personal information before you can use it. This data might include your geographic location, contacts, and photos.

For these businesses, this personal information about you is tremendously valuable – and you should think about whether or not the service you get in return is worth the data you must hand over, even if the service is free.

Make informed decisions about sharing your data with businesses or services:

  • Is the service, app, or game worth the amount or type of personal data they want in return? An email address might be easy to give, but what about your date of birth or home address?
  • Can you control your data privacy and still use the service?
  • Is the data requested even relevant for the app or service (for example, “why does a Solitaire game need to know all my contacts”)?
  • If you haven’t used an app, service, or account in several months, is it worth keeping around knowing that it might be collecting and sharing your data?

2. Adjust Settings to Your Comfort Level

For every app, account, or device, check the privacy and security settings. These should be easy to find in a Settings section and often takes just a few moments to change. Set them to your comfort level for personal information sharing; generally, we recommend sharing less data, not more.

You don’t have to do this for every account at once, start with the top 3 you use most often and work your way through them all. Set a weekly or monthly reminder so you don’t forget. Over time, you’ll have all settings adjusted to your comfort and may even have deleted some so there’s less to manage.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance has in-depth, free resources like the Manage Your Privacy Settings page that lets you check the settings of social media accounts, retail stores, apps, and more.

3. Protect Your Data

Data privacy and data security go hand-in-hand. Along with managing your data privacy settings, follow some simple cybersecurity tips to keep it safe. We recommend following the Core 4:

  • Create long (at least 12 characters), unique passwords for each account and device. Use a password manager to store each password.
  • Turn on multifactor authentication (MFA) wherever it is permitted – this keeps your data safe even if your password is compromised.
  • Turn on automatic device, software, and browser updates, or make sure you install updates as soon as they are available.
  • Learn how to identify phishing messages, which can be sent as emails, texts, or direct messages.

 

We know no one reads the terms and conditions before agreeing and that it’s easier to just click ‘Accept All Cookies’ on a website rather than going through the options to customize. But it is long past time when we need to start caring about this and realize just how much data of ours is no longer private.

This is our data – yours and mine – and we can take back control of it. Use the 3 ways above to get started, and share them with your friends and family. Do it together and hold each other accountable. It’s not hard, and it is definitely worth it for your peace of mind.

You can also click on the tags below to find related articles and start protecting yourself and your business right now.

 

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year. For more information, visit https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-week/.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organizations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good. For more information, please visit https://staysafeonline.org