Data Privacy Day

A recent survey indicated that 90% of those polled are “very concerned” about their privacy. Consumers lead increasingly connected lives, constantly storing data in the cloud, and sometimes unknowingly sharing data with third parties. Data breaches continue to generate headlines alongside companies’ worrisome data sharing practices. Call For Action is joining our friends at the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote International Data Privacy Day this January 28th.

That day, NCSA will be live streaming a presentation series titled “A New Era In Privacy” starting at 2pm pacific time (5pm eastern).  You can follow the live stream here:

Tips for consumers:

Personal Information Is Like Money.  Value it.  Protect it.

Your personal information is extremely valuable to you — It helps you verify who you are.  It’s how you set security questions for your online accounts.  The apps and online accounts you use save a tremendous amount of data from you, which they can use to identify you and target you with ads.  You’re effectively paying for these services with your data!  Manage your privacy settings, and think about what you’re giving up to use “free” services.

Share With Care.

Social media has made it extremely easy (and popular) to live your life much more publicly than people ever used to.  While it might be fun to share pictures, passing thoughts, and just about any other information about yourself with friends and family, consider that information posted online is extremely public, and nearly impossible to totally erase.  Think carefully about the sorts of things you share or post online, particularly if there’s any chance you might regret them (or how someone might perceive them) later.

Own Your Online Presence.

Every device and account you use has privacy settings.  Make sure you familiarize yourself with them and choose settings you’re comfortable with.  After you’ve set them, review them regularly.  Software updates often come with new privacy settings, and the defaults aren’t always the most private.  Join consumers who are taking proactive steps to maintain their data privacy:  65% have declined the terms of an app, and 56% have removed an app from their device.

Lock Down Your Login.

Usernames and passwords are the key to accessing your online accounts, but some of your more sensitive ones, like email, banking, and social media warrant extra protection.  Use additional authentication tools, such as two-factor authentication or a password manager on your mobile device to better restrict access to these important accounts.

Tips for the Community:

Share Knowledge In Your Community.

Sure, it’s easy to ignore each other and stare at your phones.  Resist the urge and share what you know about data privacy!  Starting the conversation with friends and family, or even volunteering at a school, senior care or faith based organization and promoting sound data privacy behavior there can have a significant, positive impact.

Tips for the Workplace:

Keep A Clean Machine.

Downloading and installing updates can be cumbersome, especially when you need to restart, but it’s crucial for protecting your data.  Hackers are constantly finding new vulnerabilities in software, and the only way to protect yourself is to keep your browser, apps, and operating system in the latest versions, which patch those vulnerabilities.

Privacy Is Good For Business.

Make sure your workplace understands the importance of data privacy and stays engaged.  Company data is valuable just like personal data, and it’s only as safe as the most careless person handling it.

If You Collect It, Protect It.

Businesses need to be responsible custodians of the information their customers provide them.  Follow strict security protocol and make sure your staff are properly trained.

Be Open And Honest About How You Collect, Use, And Store Personal Information.

This information should be readily available to consumers, and not just in your privacy policy…

Don’t Count On Your Privacy Policy As Your Only Tool To Educate Consumers About Your Privacy Practices.

Communicate directly and clearly with customers about your privacy philosophy and what steps you are taking to protect their information.

Create A Culture Of Privacy In Your Organization.

It’s important to have data security rules, but educating and training employees and coworkers can be more successful if everyone buys in and makes commitment to data privacy and security part of the workplace culture.

In Addition To Your Privacy Practices, Do Your Due Diligence And Monitor Partners And Vendors.

If you share customers’ information with business partners and vendors, you still have responsibility to ensure it is handed responsibly.