2020 is going to be the year of privacy. We have already started the year off with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that came into effect January 1st. Believe me when I say that there is a lot more to come. Organizations are going to have to do more than ever to win back consumer trust and comply with new privacy laws. As organizations try to comply, we will begin to see new levels of control over the data we share. Most organizations are not going to give you the best default privacy settings out of the box (although… they should). Due to this, I’m going to outline a few habits you should adopt in the new year to ensure that you have control over your data and understand what you should do to keep your data secure.
1. Check your privacy settings
Take a quick look at the privacy settings around your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Venmo. Basically, any application that involves creating a profile. Most of the time, your settings allow for organizations to do as they wish with your data. Go to your settings and untick some of those boxes to ensure that your profile is the way you want it to be.
2. Look for pre-ticked boxes when signing up for new services
One thing a lot of organizations get away with is having “pre-ticked” boxes whenever you sign up for a new service. Usually, this pre-ticked box signs you up for marketing emails, but sometimes you are falsely consenting to other aspects in violation of your privacy rights, such as the sale of data, targeted advertising, profiling etc. When in doubt, just untick the box (your email inbox will thank you for it).
3. Only accept necessary cookies from websites
Many websites are now offering complete control over which cookies are dropped on your browser. Don’t just blindly click accept! Take a quick moment to accept the cookies that actually enhance your browsing experience. I also suggest you visit the DAA Web Choice Tool to opt out of unnecessary tracking cookies from participating organizations.
4. Privacy Policies
- It will contain your rights if the organization offers it (such as to opt out, request access to data, etc.).
- It will have language that appears nice, but overall says “we will use your data how we see fit and find a legal basis to process it”.
- Overall, it will say they “take privacy seriously”. In some cases they might, but the only way they will is if you hold them accountable.
Since these policies essentially say that organizations can do as they please with your data, you should ALWAYS be vigilant in limiting the amount of data you share with them to the least amount necessary to accomplish your goal. If you do this, you will limit your privacy exposure significantly.
5. Check haveibeenpwned.com
Use this website to check and see if your personal data has been breached. It may be time to create a new email address or update your passwords.
These are just some quick things you can do to further protect your privacy as you browse the web. Data breaches are going to continue in 2020 and there is a high probability your personal data is going to wind up on the dark web. If organizations are not going to step up and protect our data adequately, we have to take privacy into our own hands and start to limit the amount of data that we share with them.