With Facebook and other social media sites knowing about you, it is pointless trying to keep yourself private, right?
Of course, there is a whole lot of the people who care less about their digital privacy. This is not to say you are part of the bandwagon. If you are reading this article, you probably have divergent views about this topic in particular.
If you happen to be among the former group of people, at least show care for the privacy of others.
The next pertinent question you could be asking yourself is: What personal information could be websites and companies intending to get from you?
Even though you might think they are of little value, your behaviors, demographics and habits are very important to companies.
Should you be free in divulging your personal information?
Most companies will tell you that the information they are collecting from you is non-identifiable. While this may be true to the party requesting it, it turns out to be a lie to persons that will have access to it at a later date.
Companies are willing to lose their reputations but not the data they have on you. Your data is valuable to them because it enables them to generate substantial amounts of money. This is especially true for companies that offer you free services.
Are people concerned about their privacy anymore?
Know privacy, a 2009 research company proved the fact that people indeed care so much about their privacy. Some of the information that people want to track include:
- The information companies or businesses request from them
- How much of their data would be used?
- How much information would be required for the free service they want to use.
However, the study also found out that most of these people could be free sharing with their friends what they ate rather than sharing their medical history with a medical broker.
Between a government and a business, which one should I be more worried about when it comes to my data?
Both of these entities put your data at risk in one way or the other. When it comes to the government, you need to be aware of the fact that most of its institutions such as the IRS benefit from the filling of the FOIA request.
It is through this request that government agencies get to collect and often request your info from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The government’s justification in such action is that they could use such information to arrest criminals. While this is could be an easier method for tracking and hunting down criminals, it becomes uncomfortable when their investigations also involve their networks, friends and followers.
Most of the time, the government doesn’t ask permission or justify the need for searching for a particular information.
In the same measure, private entities such as businesses could snoop on your data even more because of their exemptions from Privacy Acts. Once your information is in their hands it is hard to tell what they are going to do with your data next.
A large share of companies will claim to share your information with strategic partners. As for you, the moment you chose to sign your data away, you lose your access to it completely.
Most companies will claim to aggregate your data for marketing purposes. Unfortunately, for you, you face the danger of identity theft just in case your data is stolen from these companies.
Even as businesses and governments come for your data, you need to be concerned about your privacy. Also, your rights in accessing that data; how far they would go in using that data with other groups you have no idea about.
Personal Information to safeguard
Statistical figures estimate that about 10 million cases of identity theft occur in the United States every year. With such information at hand, you don’t to be the next case of identity theft in line. Here are examples of personal information you must safeguard while on the internet.
- High sensitive information
Information that is highly sensitive mostly has to do with your financial and banking transactions. To keep safe, avoid exposing your PIN and credit card numbers online. Other sensitive information also includes your bank account number, passwords and social security number.
- Medium sensitive information
Information that counts as medium sensitive includes your date and place of birth, and the maiden name of your mother.
- Low sensitivity info
This is information that is at a low risk online in regard to personal information. This information includes your phone number, address and full name.
What can you do to ensure digital privacy?
Right from the browser you use to the website you access, pay attention to the security of your data. Make sure to update your browser regularly with the latest security features. You also want to avoid an operating system that is outdated and could mess your privacy with hidden security flaws.
When accessing websites, check the “lock” icon that is always located on the status bar of your browser. If locked, you are getting access to a secure website. If not, your connection to the website is insecure. You will need to encrypt your connection if you intend to continue using the website.
A common method used today is the use of VPNs. VPN stands for virtual private network. It works by rerouting your internet connection through an encrypted tunnel making your connection private and secure. Best VPN services come at a cost but worth the price if you are serious about your online security.
One final measure that is always important yet overlooked is the use of passwords. Passwords are useful for restricting access to unauthorized users into your account. However, weak passwords could easily be broken into by hackers. The key lies in generating a complex password that can withstand hacking.
Digital privacy stems from the need to protect your data online. Not a concern for everybody, many internet users are now acknowledging the need to protect their digital data. With the rising cases of identity theft, you better get concerned about your digital data.