With the rollout of the California Consumer Privacy Act this month, many people wonder what data protection means, and why they should care. This act was passed in order to give consumers more insight and control over how their data is collected, used, stored, and shared.
Under this act, consumers will have the right to request a business to disclose the categories and specific pieces of personal information that it collects about the consumer, the right to direct a business that sells personal information about the individual to third parties not to sell that information, the right to request deletion of personal information, and a private right of action in connection with data breaches.
Ironically, this month we also celebrate Data Privacy Day, making the discussion about data privacy protection a must.
This day, January 28th, is the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention was opened for signature. It is celebrated all around the world and is called Privacy Day outside of Europe.
Data Privacy Day was created to educate the public on the types of personal data that may be collected from them, what rights they have against these practices, and to be made aware of the risks associated with mishandling and illegal processing of their data.
Aside from the obvious reasons for data collection, such as tailored advertising, monetization, and, in short, getting to know you better so they know how to sell you things, the issues arise when these companies get data breached. It is during this type of event that your most personal data, such as credit card details and passwords, get in the wrong hands. It is nearly impossible not to share anything with these giants nowadays, such as Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, and even so, you have no control of any data breaches that may occur, but you can do the best you can to be prepared.
But it’s not just companies misusing your data that you need to be worried about. Hackers are after your data more than ever, and they’re getting more sophisticated year after year. Ensure you have the most advanced and necessary security solutions installed. These solutions include antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-ransomware, mobile security, and a firewall. You can also get one product that includes all of these, like ZoneAlarm’s Extreme Security.
Check your apps’ privacy settings and give permission to share as little information as possible. Many people don’t know this, but they allow many apps access to a lot of personal data, such as location, microphone access, music preference, photos, contacts, files, etc.
Remember that dating site you signed up for back in 2008, used for a month, and found the love of your life on? Yeah, they still have all your information, maybe a lot more than you’d like to share, and if they’re not reliable, they can sell it for a good sum of money. Although it is nearly impossible to remember every site you’ve ever signed up for, try to go over all your email addresses and review your inbox and junk box for emails from sites you no longer use. Go on those sites and delete your accounts.
Install a browser protection extension, such as ZoneAlarm Web Secure Free Chrome Extension, which protects you from unsecured sites. It also protects you from entering phishing, or fake sites from the web or your email, such as fake emails. Finally, it blocks you from downloading malicious files that can destroy your data completely, all for free.
These can take long to read and may use a heavy legal jargon. However going through them regarding the control of personal information it collects, how it uses it, and whether it sells it to 3rd party companies (which should be stated clearly) can help you decide if you wish to continue your business with that site/app.
With the rise in data breaches of large corporations (think Target, Google, and Facebook), protecting your data and the degree to which you share it is more important nowadays than ever. Follow the above tips and stay safe!