International Data Privacy Day: Take Control Of Your Data

By Damilola Adebayo   |   Jan 28 2024

Data exists everywhere, the sheer volume of data generated about you online is mind-boggling. Every click, swipe, and purchase leaves a trail, creating a treasure trove of information for websites, apps, and businesses. This data includes not only your online behaviour and interests, but also potentially sensitive details like your location, health metrics, and even social connections.

While you can't control every piece of data collected about you, understanding data privacy, and taking proactive steps can empower you to manage your digital footprint. Remember, your data is valuable, and you deserve to have a say in its use!

How can we take control of our data?

  1. Striking the Balance: Convenience vs. Privacy

A common dilemma arises when faced with online services: convenience often comes at the cost of privacy. Downloading a new app might require access to your contacts, location, or photos. Social media platforms thrive on the vast amount of personal data they collect. Before giving up this information, ask yourself:

Is the service worth the data it demands? Consider whether the app's functionality justifies the level of personal information requested.

Can you control your data sharing? Look for settings that allow you to limit data collection and sharing, even if it means sacrificing some personalization.

Is the data relevant? Does a Solitaire game really need access to your entire contact list? Be wary of requests that seem excessive or unrelated to the service's purpose.

Do you still use it? Regularly audit your digital life and remove unused apps or accounts that might be passively collecting your data.

2. Taking Control: Adjusting Privacy Settings

Every app, service, and device has privacy settings. Don't let them remain untouched! Dive into these settings and adjust them to your comfort level. Remember, it's better to err on sharing less data than more. Start small and gradually fine-tune your settings across all your accounts.

3. Protecting Your Data: Cybersecurity Essentials

Data privacy and data security are two sides of the same coin. Along with managing your privacy settings, prioritise good cybersecurity practices:

  • Craft strong, unique passwords: Aim for at least 12 characters using a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. A password manager can help you create and store these complex passwords securely.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA): This adds an extra layer of security, requiring a second verification step (like a code sent to your phone) even if someone has your password.

  • Keep software updated: Outdated software often contains vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Enable automatic updates or diligently install them as soon as they become available.

  • Beware of phishing: Watch out for suspicious emails, texts, or messages disguised as legitimate sources. Never click on suspicious links or attachments and verify any sender's identity before interacting.

By understanding your data privacy rights, making informed choices about sharing your information, and implementing basic cybersecurity practices, you can take control of your digital footprint and navigate the online world with greater confidence. Remember, it's your data, and you have the power to decide how it's used.

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