How You Can Protect Yourself This Data Privacy Day

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Data Privacy Day occurs annually on January 28th; it represents an international effort to raise awareness about how data is collected, stored and used. The day serves as a reminder for organizations and individuals to take action around data privacy. The rapid advancement of technology development has seen a widening concern of how privacy is protected, so much so that it has now become a Human Rights issue.

Although we live in an increasingly digital world, most of us give little thought to data privacy: it only seems to enter our consciousness after our personal data has been compromised. Our increased reliance on digital technology to manage every facet of our lives necessitates the need to reconsider what we share about ourselves, when and where we share it, and who we are sharing it with.

Let’s start with a survey question:

Do you know how your data is used?

A) I never give out my personal data

B) I have a vague idea 

C) I have no idea how my data is used!

If you answered ‘B’ or ‘C’ – you’re in luck! We’ve collated some great tips to help you and your data privacy needs. At a time when so much of our lives is based online, it’s vital to be aware of what data you share, and how it is used.

Data Privacy Elements

Data Privacy is comprised of 3 elements:

  • An individual’s autonomy over how their data is used
  • Proper procedures for how data is collected, processed and shared
  • Compliance – data protection laws were put in place in some countries to safeguard individuals’ control over their data. Only by complying with these laws can organizations maintain trust for the consumer.

Personal Data

For both businesses and hackers alike, personal data is a valuable form of currency. As with a bank account or a credit card, take the time to think about what safeguards you have in place. You should also closely consider where and why you’re sharing data with any organizations or groups that may request it. Some important points to consider:

  • Check privacy settings on any new devices, programs, software or platforms in use – including social media.
  • Secure any Wi-Fi networks that you may be using, either for work or personal purposes, with software like RAV VPN
  • Ensure that your software is always up-to-date. If you are using older software versions on your devices, hackers may be able to exploit unpatched bugs.
  • Filling in an online quiz or consumer survey may not seem like a particularly ominous activity, but it’s recommended to refrain from answering random questions about your personality, marriage, habits, pets or favorite foods. 
  • Ensure that you’re using strong passwords across your devices. Switching to new passwords on a regular basis is strongly recommended.

Third-Party Data

If you use the services of an organization or company, establish what their protocol is regarding third-party data. Trust is an important aspect of customer relations, especially when it comes to sensitive data. As a client or customer, you are entitled to ask the following questions.  

  • How do they collect and use customer data? 
  • Were you given the opportunity to decline the use of your data by other vendors and parties?
  • Is there transparency regarding how they store data? 

This Data Privacy Day, take advantage of the many international events taking place online. Connect with thought leaders to learn more about steps you can take to secure your data. And as always, you can also spread awareness about data protection to your friends, family and community.