Learn more about what you can do to protect your personal information on Data Privacy Day this year.
Data privacy was a common topic in the news in 2019, and usually not in a good way. From the security failures of WhatsApp to the seemingly endless hacked health records of Quest Diagnostics, sensitive personal data was on everyone’s mind (and in everyone’s devices). That’s why 2020’s national Data Privacy Day is more important than ever. Personal data is vulnerable and hacks seem unavoidable. In 2019 alone, over 4 billion records were exposed. However, the situation is not hopeless, and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) uses Data Privacy Day to spread awareness about what people can do to protect their data. This new year, do yourself a favor: read up on how to protect your data and your identity online.
How Data Privacy Day began
Data Privacy Day is an evolution of Europe’s Data Protection Day, which began in 1981. In 2008, Canada and the United States started recognizing the day as well. It is celebrated every year on January 28th, the day that the first international data protection treaty was signed. See last year’s Data Privacy Day report here.
Now, this international movement is sharing resources, hosting panel discussions, and forming strategic partnerships all in the name of protecting data. It makes sense, too. We spend so much time on our phones and computers, it’s necessary to remind ourselves of privacy protocols every year. The companies that store our data aren’t always trustworthy. Emails, bank accounts, social media profiles, credit card applications, and more are all online and in desperate need of protection. Dedicating a day to it seems like the least we can do.
The focus of Data Privacy Day is not just to learn. The goal is to take action! Here are a few ways to get involved in data protection:
Do your research.
There are so many ways your data can be stolen, and at least just as many ways that you can protect it. Stay Safe Online has guides to protecting your social media, home networks, mobile devices, and more. Read up on the best tactics and adjust your privacy methods.
Share what you learn.
Although you want your data to be secret, you shouldn’t keep data protection strategies to yourself! Use Data Privacy Day to start a conversation with your friends and family about data protection. Especially if you have children or aging adults in your life, it’s imperative to spread the knowledge. On social media, use hashtags to join in on conversations about data privacy. #PrivacyAware is an obvious one. The National Cyber Security Alliance also created #UpdateMeow as an internet-cat-related way to remind people to update their software.
Sign up to be a champion.
If you own a business, work at a school, run a nonprofit, work for a government organization, or just have a passion for protecting data, consider becoming a Data Privacy Day champion. Champions are representatives of the importance of data privacy. They encourage others to learn about and take part in data protection strategies.
Protecting your data privacy
Hopefully, you’ve already started taking action concerning your personal data privacy. Here are a few more overarching precautions to add that you can apply to almost everything:
It may seem like an obvious comparison, but it helps to think of your password like it’s a house key. If you lost your house key, you would get a new one made, not a copy of the old one. You only give copies of the key to people you absolutely trust. Your house key is unique; it is different from your car key, your office key, and the key to your shed in the backyard. Why should your password be any different? Use unique passwords for each unique account, and don’t share it. If you believe someone hacked your account, change your password immediately.
Those little pop-ups bugging you to update your software are there for a reason. The more updated your software is, the better it’s able to protect your data. Next time your phone, computer, tablet or other device tells you it needs an update, listen. Your data will thank you if you #UpdateMeow.
Nearly all of your online accounts, especially on social media, give you options concerning the privacy of your data. Turn these up as high as you are comfortable with. Unless your profile is for a business, don’t leave your account public. Only your close friends and family really need to see what you’re up to.
So, are you ready to protect your data? Schedule your data privacy renovation for January 28th and make Data Privacy Day your own.