Data Privacy Day
Knowing more about your personal data can help you make smart decisions about privacy.
Personal data has become like gold in our digital world. Your data belongs to you, but you share it with companies and organizations all the time.
This may surprise some, but young people and young adults do. Despite conventional wisdom that young people don’t really care about privacy, surveys show that those between 13 and 35 years old do care about their privacy and the importance of maintaining control over their personal info. Here are some snapshots from an article in Vox: Among the 18 – 29 year olds surveyed:
- 74% had cleared cookies and browser histories
- 71% had deleted or edited a post
- 49% had adjusted their browser setting to reject cookies
- 42% had refused to visit certain sites that wanted to use their real names
So, when it comes to caring about online privacy and taking steps to protect it, the stereotype that younger adults care less than older adults just isn’t accurate. That’s underscored by Cisco’s Consumer Privacy Survey that found 48% of those surveyed had switched away from companies because of data policies.
So you highlight the name of a file and press the Delete key. That file is gone for good, right? Not necessarily. Most systems only remove the link to the file. It’s still there until another file is saved over the older “deleted” data.
Getting Rid of Data Permanently
Files that are never permanently deleted from old computers and devices are a gold mine for hackers. Using the latest data recovery technology, they can recover even the data and files you may have deleted. Here’s are some tips for making sure that delete” really means delete:
Most organizations have policies and procedures in place for disposing of old computers and storage media. Make sure you follow them. Many PC recyclers offer data destruction services and will ensure that any disks, hard drives or other storage media has been destroyed in a way that won’t allow any data to be recovered by hackers or anyone else.
Your phone may have sensitive data even if you don’t store any data files on it. This sensitive data can include emails or text messages, pictures, voicemail, or documents left open in your browser. If it’s time to upgrade to a newer phone, don’t just get rid of your old one or drop it in a recycle bin. Some devices have a remote wipe feature in case they get lost or stolen. Use that to scrub your old phone before getting rid of it. Or you can use a data destruction service.
Getting rid of data in your cloud accounts is more complicated. If, for example, you quit using an online service, data from your past usage is still stored by that provider. At a minimum, you should close your account, but you may also need to contact customer support to find out when closed accounts (and any data associated with that account) are permanently deleted.
You were swamped all day with work, and now making dinner is staring you in the face.
You’re tired, your family is “starving.”
So you go to the restaurant’s website to order carry out, but you’re slowed down by needing to install yet another app to order carry out from them. Then there it is: the legalese, the permissions. You click “accept” again and again without a thought, just the sound of your stomach growling.
But they’re not just being nice when they do. The primary purpose of privacy policies is to shield companies from legal action. The result is long, boring, complicated policies filled with impossible to read legal gobbledygook designed to get you to click the “ACCEPT” button without thinking.
In the moment, getting some dinner definitely takes precedence over reading a policy. But what’s at stake is your data and your privacy. It can feel like an insurmountable task, but keep reading. We’ve simplified it for you!
If you feel like you don’t have any control over your data, you’re not alone. In fact, four out of five people surveyed recently think they have no control over the data collected about them.*
Actually, we have more control than we might think. We just need the knowledge to decode the secrets hidden in many privacy policies.