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Data Privacy: It's Personal (and that's a good thing)

Friday, January 28, 2022

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

January 28, 2022

Of all the things we might say is important to us, it would be maintaining our privacy. After all, our privacy, however we might define it, is personal.

And, just as the information in our DNA is the ‘chemistry’ that makes us unique from one another, so, too, is our data (often referred to as our “PII” – personal identifying information).

When you put it all together, data privacy is the “something” that a lot of us are taking personal these days and it’s fitting that today is Data Privacy Day; a “holiday” that reminds us just how important it is to respect each other's privacy, safeguard one's data, and enable trust.

It’s an ideal time, too, for all of us to build on our knowledge and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the importance of online privacy and learn more about managing our personal information and keeping it secure. As part of the celebration, businesses are encouraged to respect data and continue to be more transparent about how they collect and use customer data.

How personal is our data? According to a recent TechRepublic story a recent KPMG study, indicated:

  • 86 percent of the respondents said they feel a growing concern about data privacy;
  • 78 percent expressed fears about the amount of data collected;
  • 40 percent of the consumers surveyed don’t trust companies to use the data ethically, and;
  • 13 percent don’t trust their own employers.

Add to that, cybercriminals often use phishing emails and text messages – targeted at both consumers and businesses – to try and steal personal data and cause other disruptions to people’s lives and to the bottom line of businesses.

Fortunately, there’s a lot of easy-to-follow steps we can follow, as part of our everyday routine, to stay safe online and there are resources available to help you. You can even manage your privacy settings, thanks to some helpful links from the National Cybersecurity Alliance, for everything from your Amazon account and your favorite music app to social media and more.

The FTC also offers a series of helpful tips for keeping your personal data protected, including:

  • Locking your financial documents and records in a safe place at home.
  • Limiting what you carry. When going out, take only your ID, along with the credit or debit cards you need. Leave your Social Security card at home.
  • Making sure before you share any personal information at work, a business, your child's school and/or a doctor's office, always be sure to ask why they need it, how they will safeguard it, and discuss with them any consequences of not sharing it with them
  • Shredding any important documents (i.e. receipts, credit offers or credit applications, medical/insurance forms, as well as any bank/financial statements or expired credit cards) that you no longer need or use

For more information about how to keep your personal information secure, Hoosiers are invited to visit the Indiana Cybersecurity Hub. Also, you can follow us on Twitter, or visit our Facebook page for the latest tips and other helpful links and resources.