Data Privacy Day

January 28, 2019


It’s Nothing Personal…or Is It?

What are your social media privacy settings? Are your “Likes” and interests visible only to your friends, or to the general public? Just how much of your personal information is openly available to strangers?

Monday, January 28, 2019, is the 12th Annual Data Privacy Day in the United States.  The observance was modeled after Data Protection Day, acknowledged in Europe for the first time in 2007. Data Protection Day commemorates the January 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Data Privacy Day was created in the hope that individuals will think more about privacy issues and place more value on efforts to protect their privacy. Personal Information should be thought of the same way you would think about money. You should value and protect it just as you would your hard-earned money. 

In the last twelve years, efforts to raise data privacy awareness have expanded to include not just individuals, but families, consumers, and businesses as well.  As a result, there have been opportunities for collaboration among governments, industry, academia, nonprofits, privacy professionals and educators. The goal is to encourage the development of technology tools that help individuals have greater control over their personal data.

But more important than any tool, is to simply think before you act.

If a communication urges you to act immediately, be suspicious of its motives. It could be a scam.
Before posting anything online, think about who might see it and how it might be perceived – both now and in the future.

Be equally as careful of what you are posting about others. You may think you are posting a photo or video of yourself, but if several people are in it, you are also sharing their information. The Golden Rule applies online as well: Post only about others as you’d have them post about you.

Keep in mind, a user name and password may not be enough to protect your important accounts. If there are stronger authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys, or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device, use them. If not, make sure your password is a good one. Try using a short sentence or an abbreviated phrase, to create a pass phrase, instead of just a word. For other tips, view our Security page.

Finally, be aware of your security settings on all the websites you frequent. A  good resource to help you with this is, where you'll find a list of links to the privacy settings pages for popular websites, social networking sites, shopping sites, and much more. 

The information provided in this article is meant for educational purposes only and is not advice.