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  • Writer's pictureAzeem Malik

Protect your information

Updated: Jun 7

Your data is important and is collected everyday from your computer, smartphone, and nearly every other internet connected device gathers data, which might even include your wristwatch or car!  Data can be used to make inferences about you and your habits, socioeconomic status, demographic information, and preferences.  Many companies can monitor the data of their users and consumers and sell the data for profit.


While you can’t lock down all your data, you often have some choices when it comes to how this data is collected, shared, and sold.  Below are some tips to manage your data privacy

1. Find the tradeoff between convenience & Privacy.

Nowadays, when you download a new app, open a new online account, or join a new social media platform, you will often be asked for access to your personal information before you can even use it! This data might include your geographic location, contacts, and photos.

For these businesses, this personal information about you is tremendously value and you should think about if the service you get in return is worth the data you must hand over, even if the service is free.

Make informed decisions about sharing your data with businesses or services:

·         Is the service, app, or game worth the amount or type of personal data they want in return?

·         Can you control your data privacy and still use the service?

·         Is the data requested even relevant for the app or service (that is, "why does a Solitaire game need to know all my contacts")?

·         If you haven't used an app, service, or account in several months, is it worth keeping around knowing that it might be collecting and sharing your data?

 

2. Adjust settings to your comfort level.

 

For every app, account, or device, check the privacy and security settings. These should be easy to find in a Settings section and should take a few moments to change. Set them to your comfort level for personal information sharing; generally, it's wise to lean on the side of sharing less data, not more.

 

You don't have to do this for every account at once, start small and over time you'll make a habit of adjusting all your settings to your comfort. 

 

3. Protect your data.

 Data privacy and data security go together. Along with managing your data privacy settings, follow some simple cybersecurity tips to keep it safe. Below 4 are highly recommended:

·        Create long, unique and complex password for each account and device.

·         Turn on MFA wherever it is permitted – this keeps your data safe even if your password is compromised.

·         Turn on automatic software update or make sure you install updates as soon as they are available.

·         Learn how to identify phishing messages which can be sent as emails, texts, or direct messages.

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