What are you doing for Data Privacy Week?

Data privacy is a concept that governs our everyday lives. We’re asked to hand over our personal data for seemingly everything that we do – from browsing the web to high-street shopping.

Although many of us are broadly aware of the risks involved when sharing our personal data, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

It’s why, for the past fifteen years, 28 January has marked Data Privacy Day – an international event raises awareness about online privacy and educates people on the ways they can protect their personal information.

This year, the event’s organiser, Stay Safe Online, has expanded the event into a full week – and in this blog, we take a look at how you can get involved in Data Privacy Week.

Keep it private

This year’s campaign encourages individuals to understand the data trail they leave whenever they go online.

We often leave a trail behind explicitly, posting about our activities and behaviours on social media or forums. Meanwhile, we sign up to services where we’re asked to hand over sensitive information such as financial records and healthcare data.

“It’s easy to feel a lack of control over the information collected about you,” Stay Safe Online writes. “However, there are steps you can take to learn about the types of data you’re generating online, and how it’s collected, shared and used.”

In keeping with the slogan ‘Keep it private’, the campaign suggests that individuals minimise the amount of data they share online.

Part of that involves understanding the trade-off between privacy and convenience. It lists examples such as apps that request access to your GPS location, contacts list or photo albums.

Accessing this information is hugely beneficial to the organisation, but you must ask yourself what you get in return. It might increase the user experience, but do you know who will have access to the information you share? Might it be shared with a third party who will use the information in a way that negates the benefits.

Another tip offered by the campaign is to review the privacy and security settings on web services and apps that you use. Each device, app or browser has different features to limit and personal data will be used and who it will be shared with.

Stay Safe Online also recommends securing your data by creating unique passwords and storing them in a password manager. This reduces the risk of a cyber criminal guessing your credentials but means you don’t have the burden of having to remember a series of complex passwords.

Teach your children about data privacy

If you have children, you’ve probably become all too familiar with the idea of home-schooling over the past two years. But even though many of us increasingly rely on technology ever for work, school and socialising, too little attention has been paid to the importance of cyber security.

This feels more than ever like a glaring omission, given how routine it is becoming for kids to browse the Internet unsupervised – not to mention that they are currently required to sign up to online services to learn.

That’s why now is an ideal time to educate your children on the importance of data privacy. Stay Safe Online provides a list of tips to help you get started and, if you have teenagers, the Child Development Institute is another great resource.

Be active in your community

The pandemic has limited our ability to take part in community activities, but that there are still plenty of people in your neighbourhood who need data privacy and cyber security advice.

Many will have only got to grips with video conferencing and other networking tools in the past few months, and they may still be vulnerable to the risks associated with data privacy.

Stay Safe Online offers a range of ways you can help them stay safe online.

Addressing data privacy at work

Data Privacy Week is a great way to drive awareness, but for organisations these risks must be addressed more than once a year; you must instead embed data privacy as one of the core principles of your business.

If you’re looking for advice on how to do that, IT Governance is here to help. We have a range of solutions, including staff awareness e-learning coursesdocumentation toolkitssecurity testing solutions and consultancy packages.

We also have a selection of free resources to help you understand the threats facing you and tools you can use to protect yourself.