I’ve noticed that whenever I apply for some sort of service, like insurance or utilize a medical clinic that I receive some sort of privacy statement. I always look them over, but I know that whatever the document contains, my privacy will be compromised.
We all, knowingly surrender some of our privacy just as a part of doing business, making a living, and enjoying leisure activities. Even those people who choose to live “off the grid”, have personal data stashed away in several databases somewhere. At the very least, the U.S. National Security Administration is aware of many of your comings and goings.
There are steps we can take in order to educate and empower ourselves to control our digital footprints and further educate ourselves about data privacy. The most basic step is to make sure the privacy settings for your devices and applications are secure and up to date. Don’t forget any gaming devices you use.
Make a habit of checking your email settings on a regular basis. Plus, be careful of opening mail from unknown senders. By extension, check your settings for your Internet Service Provider and your mobile devices, too. While you’re checking your computer, be sure to double check your browser settings.
Don’t overlook your e-commerce practices. Be certain that your eBay and PayPal passwords are secure and changed from time to time. This goes for any other places you go, like Amazon.com and so on.
Do you use social sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.? Be sure to take advantage of their secure access features. Of course, we need to beware of oversharing information about our private lives. I’ve seen where users on YouTube reveal deeply personal aspects in videos and then find themselves the target of hostile commenters and stalkers. So think carefully about your content and be aware of where the camera is pointed in your outdoor shoots.
If you’re a blogger, like me, make doubly certain to use the security measures provided for your pages. Overlooking these is a good way to risk having your content deleted by a prankster, or someone could even hijack your blog completely.
Remember that your data isn’t restricted to electronic devices. There is a wealth of data about your personal life and behavior in your medical records. With your medical and dental records increasingly stored in shared databases, you need to be aware of what and with whom this information is shared. The easiest thing to do is read the privacy statements your healthcare provider gives you.
The same goes for your credit cards, loan companies, and bank. They are basically more secure, but your financial data is shared with different institutions. Read over the documents that your financial companies send out to you.
In this world where nearly everything we do leaves digital footprints, we can take measures to ensure better personal privacy.
The Blue Jay of Happiness says you can find more information about Data Privacy Day at: http://staysafeonline.org/