Data Privacy Day

January 28, 2020

In a 2019 interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “The people who track on the internet know a lot more about you than if somebody’s looking in your window. A lot more.”

We’re not sure about you, but we don’t want anyone looking in our window!

In honor of Data Privacy Day on January 28, we’re bringing you some educational resources about data privacy. According to Stay Safe Online, millions of people are uneducated about how their information is being used and shared. Its website says Data Privacy Day is meant to “inspire dialogue” about data sharing and educate those who might not know the extent to which their information is being collected.

While technology becomes more sophisticated, companies are becoming better at gathering data, which makes for a scary combination. Even if you think you’re taking all the right steps to being safe online, we encourage you to read on.

You might not specifically add your birthday or place of work to your Facebook profile. But, did you know that information may very well still be collected from photos or posts? Not to mention, even more specific personal details about your life, such as where you’ve been on vacation, what music you like to listen to, and even where you’ve gone during the day, can also be collected. A New York Times article called “Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret” explains that apps are often misleading when they prompt people to give location permission. “An app may tell users that granting access to their location will help them get traffic information, but not mention that the data will be shared and sold,” the article reads. Yes, that means the locations of everywhere you go – your Doctor’s office, your kid’s school, and even your home – can be shared.

If the thought of someone virtually following you home wasn’t enough, here are a few statistics about data privacy that might surprise you

  • 21% of online users are the victim of account hacking, including hacked email and social media accounts
  • 11% of online users have been the victim of data theft, including stolen credit card information, bank account numbers, and social security numbers
  • 41% of children ages 8–17 have public profiles, which is an open invitation for predators

So what can you do to avoid someone looking in your virtual window? Start educating yourself and those around you with these Federal publications about online safety.

Social Media: The Fastest Growing Vulnerability to the Air Force Mission explains how social media is the fastest growing vulnerability to the military mission and the personal security of all Airmen. This paper includes recommendations of the best practice for safe cyberspace operations. If you are a member of the Air Force, check out this publication for staying safe on social media and protecting your critical missions.

Cyberspace: Malevolent Actors, Criminal Opportunities, and Strategic Competition from the Department of the Army and Strategic Studies Institute is a report that provides cyberspace decision-makers with a more comprehensive, clearer description of what cyberspace is and how the government can improve upon cybersecurity. The report offers recommendations on dealing with cyberspace. It has three parts: the first focuses on cyberspace; the second focuses on the types of threats that have become prevalent; and the third covers possible responses to these threats.

Children are some of the most vulnerable to online threats and dangers to privacy. Educate your children early and often about online safety. Net Cetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online from the Federal Trade Commission is here to help you do it. The guide provides parents with tips on talking to their children about using computers, smart phones, and other mobile devices and apps and tells adults what they can do to monitor their children’s devices. It also provides parents tips on telling their children how to recognize whether or not they’re receiving inappropriate content as well as how to create secure passwords and protect their personal information.

Our personal information is much more valuable than we realize! If you’re passionate about protecting your personal data, be sure to check out these Federal publications at the GPO Bookstore.

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About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.

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