data privacy day safeguarding your personal information online

Data Privacy Day: Safeguarding Your Personal Information Online

Diogo GouveiaCompany news Leave a Comment

Data Privacy Day is celebrated annually on January 28th, and it reminds us of the importance of prioritizing the protection of our personal data, particularly in the current times where our online and offline worlds are heavily intertwined.

The Origin and Importance of Data Privacy Day

Data Privacy Day was officially recognized by the Council of Europe in 2006, to commemorate the day the first international treaty concerning privacy and data protection, Convention 108, was opened for signature in 1981. The Unites Stated joined in recognizing this day in 2009, with Congress officially designating it in 2014.

But what is the need for this day? Well, the significance of personal information cannot be emphasized enough. Once sensitive data falls into the hands of cybercriminals, it can be traded on the 'dark web’ for activities like identity theft, financial fraud, and other illicit purposes. As such, there is a clear need for vigilance and for being conscious of our digital interactions in today's interconnected world.

Despite the formal recognition of Data Privacy Day, the average person still tends to underestimate the importance of data privacy in their everyday use of devices, such as phones or computers. This oversight often stems from the confusion between the concepts of Data Privacy and Data Security, which contributes towards risky online behaviors and the casual sharing of personal information. Unfortunately, this relaxed approach makes individuals more vulnerable to privacy breaches and cybersecurity threats.

Data Privacy vs Data Security: Understanding the Difference

While the concepts of Data Privacy and Data Security are closely related, they are not quite the same thing:

Imagine your personal information is a sealed envelope. Data Protection is the sturdy mailbox that shields your envelope from the elements and potential theft, ensuring it stays secure until the recipient retrieves it. Data Privacy, on the other hand, is the content inside the envelope. Protecting the envelope is crucial, but understanding what's inside and determining who gets to open it is equally vital for maintaining your privacy. In other words, Data Privacy is more about controlling who has access to your personal information and how it is used.

Practically speaking, most digital users do not go much beyond being cautious about not sharing their passwords. Aside from this, trust is placed in the systems used by the companies they interact with, expecting them to serve as custodians of the personal data which is willingly exchanged for access to products and services. The reality here is that personal information gathered by most companies is not automatically treated as private, as some may be motivated by profit, or simply lack robust security policies and certifications like ISO 27001. This can expose customers’ personal information to external parties, which, of course, should not be able to see or access this data.

Data Privacy Day reminds us to treat our personal information like an asset which requires protection, because it is one. Staying mindful of how companies manage personal information empowers anyone to make informed decisions about the digital platforms they engage with. Every user should also understand that basic security measures, such as spam filters, are insufficient methods to protect sensitive personal data.

data privacy

A Cautionary Tale: 23andMe

An alarming instance of a data privacy breach is the 23andMe incident, where the genetic testing company faced a breach that exposed the DNA records of about 7 million individuals, in 2023. This breach revealed highly sensitive genetic information, raising significant concerns about privacy and the potential misuse of such personal data.

This incident reinforces the need for employing robust data security measures, particularly when handling extremely personal information like DNA records. It serves as a reminder of the importance for companies to prioritize and diligently safeguard sensitive information, as the consequences of mishandling such data can be far-reaching and impact customers on a deeply personal level.

Top 6 Ways to Ensure Your Data Privacy

In the spirit of celebrating Data Privacy Day and navigating our technology-driven world, prioritizing the proper management of personal information is crucial. Here are six important strategies you should consider to enhance your Data Privacy:

  • Use Strong, Unique Passwords: Employ complex and unique passwords for each of your accounts. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters, and avoid using easily guessable passwords like birthdays or common words.
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Add an extra layer of security to your accounts by using 2FA. This method requires a second form of identification, which significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Maintain your Browser: Regularly review and update your web browser's privacy preferences, delete any stored cookies, and clear the cache.
  • Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network): A VPN encrypts your internet connection. Essentially, it helps to protect your online activities and personal data from being intercepted, particularly when using public Wi-Fi networks, as they are much more susceptible to breaches.
  • Listen to Your IT Admin for Software Updates: Keeping your operating systems and applications updated is fundamental in enhancing data privacy. Regularly check for and install the latest security patches, bug fixes, and updates.
  • Opt for Companies That Value Data Privacy: When browsing for services, it is important to always prioritize companies which care for protecting data, and maintaining the data you provide to a minimum. Apart from respecting your privacy rights, these companies will invest in securing your information to minimize the risk of data breaches. This is why we, at Connecting Software, have a strong commitment to ensuring the data privacy of our customers.

Our Dedication to Data Privacy

As we mentioned, Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder of the vital role companies play in protecting personal information.

Throughout our nearly 20-year history, Connecting Software has always prioritized data privacy. Our Privacy Policy, which is publicly available on our website, includes how we handle personal information from our blog and website, detailing the collection process, usage, disclosure to third parties, and the robust security measures we employ. In addition, we are also proud participants in the Data Privacy Framework, signed in July 2023, which further proves our commitment to following regulatory standards and customer privacy.

Data Privacy Day highlights the importance of safeguarding personal data, and we, at Connecting Software, reaffirm our dedication to continue leading in data privacy. With our innovative software integration solutions, we not only optimize your business systems, but also ensure that your information remains protected at every step.

About the Author

Diogo Gouveia

By Diogo Gouveia

“After completing my studies in the United Kingdom, I joined the Marketing team at Connecting Software to create content on software integration and a variety of other IT topics. If you have any observations or suggestions, please reach out."

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