We live in an ever-changing digital landscape where one data breach can be devastating for you and your personal information.
This week marks the start of Data Privacy Week, an annual campaign that educates individuals and businesses about the importance of online privacy. To keep your data safe, it helps to know more about the ways it can be used and how you can protect it.
How Companies Leverage Your Data
Some of the top firms in the world built their empires on the data collected from our personal gadgets, electronic transaction history, and search histories. Personal data is also the foundation for millions of small businesses and innumerable startups, who use it to provide individualized digital services, market forecasts, and customer insights.
The commercial use of personal data has grown like wildfire in the last twenty years. But fortunately, the changing tides of public opinion are putting data privacy into the forefront of social consciousness.
The Trend Toward Additional Data Privacy Protections
While we are not safe from all digital attacks, especially from criminal organizations and professional hackers, private organizations are slowly losing their grip over the data stored on their platforms. Selling data such as spending habits, high traffic times, and time per page was acceptable in the recent past. Today, that information is often protected as personal data.
This is not to say that the companies who collect this data are suddenly trustworthy. But the convergence of consumer mistrust, government action, and market competition is forcing their collective hands. The trend is in favor of more protections for consumer data consumer data.
Be Aware of Privacy Policies
Increasingly, consumers have the ability to take control of their data and how it’s used. Consent is key with data allowances and what users agree to in terms and conditions agreements will be what dictates how even the largest online companies can use, store and protect your data.
Reading through those agreements and understanding what you agree to is more critical than ever. Often, that agreement is all that holds online companies to enforceable codes.
Protect Your Data
National Cybersecurity Alliance – Wide range of resources related to phishing, hacked accounts, MFA, etc.
Federal Trade Commission – Privacy resources for businesses related to children, health information, consumers, data, and more.
Federal Trade Commission – Identity theft and online security information for consumers.