Data Privacy Day is January 28! Since this particular holiday comes so early in the year, it’s a great opportunity to make some changes in the way you manage your personal data. Here are 17 things you can do to put your best privacy foot forward for 2017.
Be mindful of your existing account and app data:
- Revisit the account settings for your social media and email accounts. Privacy settings can change over time, and you may find that your accounts are less private than you thought.
- Review app permissions on your mobile device and make sure you’re not allowing constant location data or other unnecessary access.
- Double-check your health & fitness wearables for privacy red flags. HIPAA rarely covers medical information collected by apps or wearables, even though it’s some of the most private data.
- Close any online accounts that are unused or outdated.
- Have a data cleanup day! Delete emails, messages and cloud-based files you no longer need. This doubles as a great opportunity to get organized.
Prevent unauthorized access to your online accounts:
- Make sure each of your passwords are long (12 characters or longer), strong and unique. Make your password a sentence – and focus on positive sentences and things you like to think about to make them easier to remember.
- Lock down your login: Turn on strong authentication where available. One extra step is nothing when it comes to protecting your private accounts in the event of a compromised password.
- If you’re looking for convenience and security, consider adding a password manager.
Control access to your browsing data:
- Check the security and privacy settings within your default browser to make sure everything is configured for your protection.
- Consider installing a browser extension to block questionable scripts and ads.
- Consider setting up a virtual private network (VPN) to control what information you share with your internet service provider.
Restrict the collection of data by your Internet of Things devices:
- Set security updates to install automatically to avoid vulnerability. Or, if you prefer, set a reminder for yourself to regularly check for and install updates.
- Resolve to switch OFF your smart devices when they’re not in use. Some even allow you to toggle off the “smart” features while leaving the offline functionalities on.
- Create a separate home Wi-Fi network for smart devices only.
Educate yourself about data privacy:
- Read the privacy policies for your top three most-used apps or devices. Finding out how your data is used can be an eye-opening experience and might even inspire you to read privacy policies more often.
- Research the potential dollar value of your data.
- Check the breach status of your username or email address on https://haveibeenpwned.com/.
Interested in learning more about privacy? Check out the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website for additional tips on protecting your data privacy and much more.
About the Author
Morgan Cordary is the digital media & outreach strategist for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.