Online Personal Privacy Update

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"Another Plazce" statueWould you walk naked down the road?

Trust, consent, and transparency are the building blocks of the digital economy. We’re hardly through the first month of 2014, and we have seen two major retailers disclosure privacy breaches that combined could affect a THIRD of the population of the USA.

I myself have been notified by Target (not impressed by the outreach, but that’s for another blog post) that I was affected by the issue and have been offered the normal credit monitoring tools to proactively monitor any possible future issues that may arise.

Blah, blah, blah…we have heard this all before. These breaches won’t stop; they will become more frequent and important. Yes, these credit monitoring tools help you – after the fact – but you also need to help yourself, before the damage occurs.

With that being said, is there anything you could do to protect yourself now from attacks or future activity that could have a damaging effect on your digital fingerprint?

Yes.

StaySafeOnline.org

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a public/private nonprofit partnership whose mission is to “educate and therefore empower a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work, and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to, and our shared digital assets.”

It’s more than good intentions. The NCSA created StaySafeOnline.org, a collection of really smart how-tos about keeping your computer clean, protect your privacy, and other significant Internet safety issues.

Here, for a very pertinent example, is this great resource (it’s an awesome personal privacy convenience tool) that allows you to view and change the privacy and security settings for your online devices or services.

http://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/check-your-privacy-settings/

As you will see from the listings this is a great place to start for you to manage your privacy settings. The image below shows you eBay’s privacy setting. Log on, make the changes and bookmark these addresses. I also strongly suggest that you update your settings regularly.

eBay privacy settings

Do it NOW. You wouldn’t want to walk down the road naked, would you? Then why would let all your digital nakedness hang out? It’s just as embarrassing and potentially even more dangerous.

There’s no longer a bright line between our personal and professional lives; increasingly they’re becoming grey and intertwined. If you are concerned about your digital nakedness, then it is imperative that you proactively manage all your digital relationships and accounts.

If you don’t…then prepare yourself. You may be that person finding yourself in receipt of an unpleasant notification from the next organization that’s robbed of batches of personally identifiable information…including yours.

Photo of “Another Place” by Antony Gormley, by Richard Carter, used under a Creative Commons 2.0 license

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  • bri44any

    I’ve sadly had family members who worked at companies that were robbed of personal information and identities. These issues are real, and they are closer than we’d like to think.

  • Todd Holbrook

    I also got that Target email. To be honest, I was quite surprised when I heard of their security issue – it truly goes to show that we need to increasingly technologically defensive in a technological world. It’s not so much now about who is next, as it is that I’m taking precautionary steps to be secure everywhere.

  • Tim

    As great as technology is, it has naturally opened up so many opportunities for criminals to invade our privacy and take what is not theirs. Its important for companies to do whatever it takes to keep their customers information secure and not to use it in a way that would be considered unacceptable by the customer.