Data Privacy Day: Safeguarding privacy, respecting data & enabling trust

by News Editor on January 31st, 2014 in Industry and Security News.

Data Privacy Day was held recently on January 28, it is an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

Data Privacy Day began 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 January 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Data Privacy Day is now a celebration for everyone, observed annually.

On January 27, 2014, the 113th U.S. Congress adopted S. Res. 337, a nonbinding resolution expressing support for the designation of January 28, 2014, as "National Data Privacy Day."

Data flows freely in today's online world. Everyone - from home computer users to multinational corporations - needs to be aware of the personal data others have entrusted to them and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it. Being a good online citizen means practicing conscientious data stewardship. Data Privacy Day is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy, control their digital footprint, and make the protection of privacy and data a great priority in their lives.

Data Privacy Day is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, a nonprofit, public-private partnership dedicated cybersecurity education and awareness, and advised by a distinguished advisory committee of privacy professionals.

To begin taking a proactive approach to your online privacy and security, follow these steps from STOP. THINK. CONNECT., the national cybersecurity awareness campaign.
                            

  • Secure your devices. Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet or PC.
  • Secure your accounts. Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. Enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security.
  • Make passwords long, strong and unique. Passwords should be different for each account, have as many characters as allowed and include numbers, symbols and letters, capital and lowercase.
  • Think before you app. Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses to function.
  • Back it up. Store digital copies of your valuable work, music, photos and other information on an external hard drive or online cloud.


Mobile

Here are some tips and questions you should ask to help you protect your privacy when using a mobile device:

What information does your smartphone have about you? Smartphones store and transmit a wide range of personal data which third parties can access–including contact lists, pictures, browsing history, certain identifying information and stored location data. Secure your phone with a long, strong and unique password, security software and other privacy features.

Do you keep a clean machine? Smartphones can be vulnerable to viruses and malware that can compromise personal information. Protect your phone with security software and by updating operating systems and apps.
Would you want a stranger to see or read it?Think before you text. Keep in mind how the message might be read before you send it. Be aware that texts can be forwarded.

Are you respecting others’ privacy? Make sure you have someone’s permission before taking pictures or videos of them with your phone. What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.

Is the location service for your app necessary? Many applications do not need geo-location enabled in order to provide the service. Opt-out of the location service feature on your phone. Own your online presence - It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

Are you savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots? Limit the type of business you conduct on your smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi hotspots and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine. Wi-Fi hotspots are convenient but can leave you vulnerable to intrusion.

Social Networking

Here are some tips and questions you should ask to help protect you when using social networking sites.

Do you own your online presence? You don’t have to rely on “recommended” settings or default settings.  Learn about the controls available and make your own decisions.  It's okay to limit with whom you share your information.  It is okay to not accept a friend request.

Do you know who will see what you post? Consider who may have access to your profile: family, friends, friends of friends, your school, college admissions officers, and potential employers? Set the privacy and security settings to your personal comfort level for information sharing.

Did you know your online reputation can help you? Create a strong, positive personal brand online for yourself online. Show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the digital environment. This can help you with school admissions and during job searches.

Did you know your online reputation can hurt you? What you post will be around for a long time. Think ahead and evaluate if what you post today is what you will want people to know about you in the future.

Did you know your privacy is only as protected as your least reliable friend allows it to be? When you choose to share information with anyone in your networks, they can easily forward it or post. Make sure they will handle your information with care and trust.  Avoid sharing compromising photos and information.

Is your password long, strong and unique?
Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols in a unique password for each online account.  Passwords are personal information that should not be shared.

Do you know what information you should not share on a profile page? Your phone numbers, home address, full date of birth, travel plans, email address, class schedules, social security number, passwords, family financial information, bank or credit card numbers shouldn’t appear on your profile.

Do you know that your friends trust you with their information? Post only about others what you would have them post about you. It’s the golden rule.