With most of our interactions taking place online, data privacy has become increasingly crucial. As we navigate the online world, sharing personal information and engaging with various online platforms makes it all more important to understand that privacy is very specific regarding your digital life because it revolves around your right to protect your personal data.

What is Data Privacy Week?

Data Privacy Week is an annual effort to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and companies. It has two main goals:

  • Improving the individuals understanding of their control over their data
  • Help companies understand the importance of respecting the privacy of their users data

What is Data Privacy?

Your data can be categorised in certain ways. First is personal information, which encompasses a broad range of information, including but not limited to names, date of birth, addresses and financial details.

Secondly, there is data about what you do online, for instance, the websites you visit, the items you purchase, and those you communicate with on social media. This data can be broken into the smallest of forms, for instance, how many seconds you spend on a website before clicking another link. Advertisers and other businesses crave this data because they can better target ads and products towards you.

Data privacy is the right to keep your data private. You should know your data privacy rights and choose only to share data when you feel it is appropriate.

Why is Data Privacy important?

Have you ever felt uneasy when, after using a search engine, all the ads on the websites you visit suddenly revolve around your recent search? Or do you want marketers to possess your phone number, subjecting you to constant calls?

While you may not mind advertisers knowing about your recent purchase online, there are certain aspects of your data, like your emails, that you will likely prefer to keep private. Yet, without careful attention to data privacy, you might unknowingly download a program or plug-in that scans your email and sells the information to advertisers.

Further, risks you may expose yourself to include identity theft. Protecting personal information is crucial in preventing identity theft given it’s a prevalent cybercrime where criminals use stolen information for financial gain or other malicious activities.

Practical Steps for Data Privacy

Adopt the following steps to enhance your data privacy:

  • Understand Privacy Settings – Familiarise yourself with the privacy settings of your platforms and services. Adjust settings to align with your comfort level regarding sharing personal information.
  • Use Strong Passwords – Combine three random words to create a long enough and strong password, for example, applenemobiro.
  • Regularly Update Devices and Software – Keeping devices and software up to date ensures you benefit from the latest security patches, protecting against potential vulnerabilities.
  • Educate Yourself – Businesses can stay informed of malicious activity via NCSC Early Warning service

Data privacy is not just a buzzword, it is a fundamental aspect of our digital existence. By understanding the principles outlined above and adopting proactive measures, individuals can confidently navigate the online world, knowing that their personal information is secure. As we continue to embrace the conveniences of the digital age, let’s prioritise data privacy and contribute to a safer and more secure online environment for all.

Police Scotland

Guidance provided by Police Scotland

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