Data Privacy Week is January 22 – 28 this year, and it’s a great reminder to spread awareness about online data privacy. Many people are not aware that their data are being collected and shared to organizations. The special week is to educate people about how to control their data and organizations to respect their users’ personal data.
How Data Privacy Week Started
Did you know that Data Privacy Week is an extension of Data Protection Day in Europe? The Council of Europe created the first international treaty that has ever discussed the topic of data protection and privacy called Convention 108, and it was signed on January 28, 1981, the date that we now observe as Data Privacy Day.
Why Data Privacy Week Should Matter to You?
As an individual/user, think about everything that you do in the online space that affects your personal data. You Google something and click on the link of the site you’re looking for. You browse the site quickly and see the unavoidable bottom footer that says in bold, “Accept Cookies”. You click on it abruptly to close it to see the site. You don’t think much of it, but the fact that you accepted the cookies, and you didn’t read the settings, your data can now be used to target ads, but it can also be sold to other companies. What can be worse is if a data breach occurred, and now your data has been compromised. So, it’s important that you’re fully aware and conscious of these tools and take the necessary steps to protect your privacy.
Let’s Celebrate Data Privacy Week
How should we “celebrate” this week of data privacy awareness? As individuals, let’s begin with these few actionable tips you can do now:
- Change your passwords often and don’t reuse them. This may seem obvious, but it always needs to be brought up again because most users don’t take it seriously until their account has been hacked. So, make sure you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts and change your passwords often that are lengthy and complex with various letters, numbers, and symbols. Even better, use a password manager. Also, always set up MFA (multi-factor authentication) wherever you can when you create passwords.
- Check your privacy settings. Any time that you sign up for anything online, or even check a website that has cookie settings, make sure to review the privacy and cookie settings, because most of them automatically opt you in to take your data, and you would have to manually opt out.
- Search the web in private. A lot of us don’t think too deeply about this, but think about how much is being tracked when you’re browsing the web publicly, so why not search the web by opening a private window instead or use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)? It’s also tempting to use free public WiFi, but that’s how they get you, too – so use your own hotspot!
- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. So just remember that when something is “free” online, they’re still asking you for something, like your contact information, but most of the time, it’s actually your data. Let’s avoid this if you care about data privacy.
If you have any more questions about data privacy and want to know more on how to protect yourself and your organization, contact one of our Greystone team members today.