We should all be concerned with our health and well-being. For the most part, we all aspire for good health. Now that doesn’t always mean we are perfect, but we understand the changes and course corrections necessary to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. This may include actions like getting more sleep, exercising regularly, routine doctor’s visits and making better food choices along the way. Likewise, just as we should take accountability for our well-being, we should also be proactively taking care of our data privacy.
Sunday, January 28 is Data Privacy Day, and there has never been a better time to take inventory of how private your data is. DPD is a vital initiative promoting awareness and education about safeguarding personal information. This year’s DPD events, sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), emphasize the theme “Take control of your data.” While the NCSA is an American entity, their advice on data privacy and cyber security is implemented the world over. In this blog, I’ll delve into some practical steps you as an individual can take, as well as advice to take at a corporate/business level, to safeguard data privacy. This is a responsibility for all of us, much like we all need to take control of our health and well-being.
“You have the power to take charge of your data. Your data is valuable, and you deserve to have a say (in how it’s used).”
– National Cybersecurity Alliance
Understanding Data Privacy Day:
Data Privacy Day traces its roots to the Council of Europe’s signing of Convention 108—the pioneering international treaty on data protection in 1981. Over the years, the global privacy landscape has witnessed significant changes, with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD) shaping the way businesses handle personal data. Data Privacy Week and Day serves as a platform to raise awareness, evangelize best practices, and underscore the importance of privacy in the digital era.
Take Control of Your Data:
The National Cybersecurity Alliance says, “Your online activity creates a treasure trove of data. This data ranges from your interests and purchases to your online behaviors, and it is collected by websites, apps, devices, services, and companies all around the globe.” This makes it clear: Your data is currency. It has value. It should be up to you how your data is shared. Below are some quick proactive actions that should be top-of-mind, just like paying attention to your health.
Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings are preventive measures to maintain good health. Being conscious of lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, contributes to overall well-being. Just as preventive healthcare involves practices like regular exercise and a balanced diet, owning your privacy involves proactive steps. This includes regularly reviewing and adjusting privacy settings, being cautious about the information you share online, and keeping software and devices up to date.
Awareness and Education:
Health literacy is essential for making informed decisions about your well-being. Understanding nutrition, recognizing symptoms, and being aware of potential health risks empowers individuals to take control of their health. Likewise, understanding the risks and being aware of potential privacy threats is crucial.
Adaptability and Resilience:
Health conditions and challenges may change over time. Taking control of your health involves adapting to new circumstances, seeking appropriate medical advice, and making lifestyle adjustments as needed. Similarly, the digital landscape is dynamic, and new privacy challenges continually emerge. Taking control of your privacy requires adaptability and resilience in staying informed about evolving threats and adjusting your privacy practices accordingly. In other words, be prepared to course correct when needed.
Balance and Well-rounded Approach:
Also, maintaining overall health involves a holistic approach that considers physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Balancing work, relationships, and self-care contribute to a healthy and fulfilling life. Achieving a balance between being connected and protecting your privacy is key. Owning your privacy and taking control of your data does not necessarily mean disconnecting from the digital world but rather finding a well-rounded approach that aligns with your comfort level and security needs.
Here Are Some Practical Steps:
Data Privacy (and data protection) should be everyone’s concern individually, not just corporately. In other words, this is everyone’s responsibility, and you play a crucial role in safeguarding your online privacy. As such here are some things you can do today to proactively keep your data private:
- Clear Your Cookies: Regularly clear cookies to remove tracking information and enhance privacy. This practice also reduces the risk of security threats posed by hijacked cookies.
- Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with privacy laws granting individuals rights over their personal information. Understand how to request and manage the data collected by businesses.
- Privacy-Protecting Browsers: Opt for internet browsers that prioritize user privacy. Many top browsers are deprecating third-party cookies and offer strong default privacy settings.
- Password Management: Strengthen online security by using complex passwords incorporating various elements. Consider using trusted password managers to ease the management of multiple passwords.
The NCSA advocates for a dual approach—individuals owning their privacy and businesses respecting privacy. Key actions include making informed decisions about sharing personal information, keeping apps secure through updates, and managing privacy and security settings. For businesses, protecting collected data, adopting privacy frameworks, ensuring transparency, and overseeing partners’ practices are essential.
Data Privacy Week and Day serves as an annual reminder of the critical importance of privacy in the digital age. By understanding its significance, and taking practical steps to safeguard personal information, individuals and businesses can contribute to a more secure and trusted online environment.
In closing, both owning your data privacy and owning your health involves proactive, informed, and adaptive approaches. Recognizing the parallels between these concepts can encourage individuals to adopt a comprehensive mindset that addresses both the digital and physical aspects of their lives. As such data privacy is not only a corporate responsibility but also an individual responsibility. Take care of it as you would your health.
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