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Everything you do online generates data. There’s data about your activities, behaviors, and interests. There’s your personal data, like your social security and driver’s license numbers. And there’s data about the physical you, like health data. It’s easy to feel a lack of control over the information collected about you. However, there are steps you can take to learn about the types of data you’re generating online, and how it’s collected, shared and used.
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with data privacy, and companies are realizing this and responding. We encourage consumers to be selective about who they choose to do business with and understand the value of their data.
Follow these steps to better manage your personal information and make informed decisions about who receives your data:
Understand the privacy/convenience tradeoff
Many accounts ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list, and photo album, before you even use their services. This personal information has tremendous value to businesses and allows some to even offer you their services at little to no cost.
Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and wary of apps or services that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connected devices and keep others secure by performing updates.
Manage your privacy
Once you have decided to use an app or set up a new account, check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. Get started with NCA’s Manage Your Privacy Settings page to check the settings of social media accounts, retail stores, apps and more.
Protect your data
Data privacy and data security go hand in hand. Keep your data secure by creating long, unique passwords and storing them in a password manager. Add another layer of security by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible, especially on accounts with sensitive information. MFA has been found to block 99.9% of automated attacks when enabled and can ensure your data is protected, even in the event of a data breach.