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Data Privacy Day: Clear Browser Cookies, Encrypt eMails and Use Virtual Networks

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Mark your calendar as January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an annual effort to educate consumers about how they can better protect their personal information and manage their privacy and teach organizations about how privacy is good for business. Data Privacy Day, led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA in the United States, is built on the theme “Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data and Enabling Trust.” 

NCSA will officially recognize Data Privacy Day on Thursday, January 26th, with a day-long event streamed live from Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, CA.

Many consumers do not fully understand how their information is collected, used and stored by the devices, apps and websites they use every day. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 91% of American adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control of how personal information is collected and used by companies. Additionally, 50% are worried about the amount of personal information about them online, while 47% said they were not confident they understood what would be done with their data once it was collected.

Against this backdrop of haze about collection and use of personal information are the emergence and rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) – with more than 30.7 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020. IoT devices that you use at home, at work and on the go are fueled by information about you. Your data – like behaviors and preferences – are a significant part of what makes IoT devices work.

Fortunately, consumers are beginning to adopt some privacy and security measures to protect their personal information. The Pew survey showed that 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints, such as clear their browser cookies, encrypt emails and use virtual networks that mask their internet protocol (IP) addresses.

Additionally, a recent NCSA survey revealed that 74% of consumers think it is “important” to “extremely important” that websites have easy to understand and accessible information regarding how information is collected, how it’s used and with whom it is shared, and 47% of shoppers who had abandoned online purchases due to security concerns did so because too much information was being asked of them in relationship to the transactions.

Shoppers also reported taking the following privacy measures:

• Trying to understand what personal information a device collects, how it is being used and how it is stored (45%)

• Reading information from the manufacturer about how to keep the device secure over time (34%)

• Keeping IoT mobile apps up to date with the latest software updates (30%)

• Researching the past history of privacy/security concerns about a device (27%)

• Updating privacy settings on social media (27%)

• Reading the terms and conditions of an app before downloading (21%)

Despite taking these positive privacy steps, 61% say they would like to do more to protect their personal information, according to the Pew study.

NCSA recommends taking the following steps to better manage your privacy in a growing Internet of Me:

• Own your online presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

• Lock down your login: Choose one account and turn on the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

• Keep a clean machine: Update your security software, web browser and operating system to have the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.

• Share with care: What you post can last a lifetime. Before posting something about yourself or others online, think about how it might be perceived now and in the future and who might see it.

NCSA encourages everyone to do their part to promote a culture of privacy awareness. Here’s how you can get involved this Data Privacy Day and year-round:

• Become a Data Privacy Day Champion: Individuals and companies can get involved and actively show their dedication to respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. Champions receive a toolkit of privacy awareness materials that they can use to educate themselves and their communities. Becoming a Champion is easy and does not require any financial support.

• Join the conversation on social media: Using the hashtag #PrivacyAware, post on social media about why privacy is important to you and/or your organization

.Data Privacy Day Events

• #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Managing Your Privacy in the Internet of Me, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST: Join @STOPTHNKCONNECT and a panel of experts for a Twitter chat on managing your privacy in a growing “Internet of Me” world.

• Data Privacy Day – Privacy Program Fundamentals (Webinar), Wednesday, Jan. 25, 1-3 p.m. EST/10 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST: Privacy Ref is celebrating Data Privacy Day by offering a free two-hour course on privacy basics. This session will cover how to define privacy, developing a privacy program, consenting to data processing and more. Normally this course is $250, but to ring in the New Year, it is available to you for free. Sign up today to reserve your spot as space is limited.

• #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Being #PrivacyAware is Good for Business, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 3 p.m. EST/12 p.m. PST: This #ChatSTC Twitter chat will help you understand how privacy is good for business and the steps your organization can take to respect privacy, safeguard data and enable trust.

• Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference: The Age of Intelligent Machines, Jan. 25 – 27, Computers, Privacy & Data Protection (CPDP) is an annual three-day conference convened in Brussels devoted to privacy and data protection. The conference brings together academics, lawyers, practitioners, policy-makers, industry and civil society from all over the world, offering them an arena to exchange ideas and discuss the latest emerging issues and trends. David Hoffman, Associate General Counsel and Global Privacy Officer of Intel – an NCSA board member company – will moderate The Right to Obscurity: Implementing the Google-Spain Decision panel on Jan. 25 at 10:30 a.m. CET. Panelists include Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chairman of CNIL, Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel of Google, and Artemi Rallo, former Director of the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

• Live from Twitter HQ: Data Privacy Day 2017 Event – Hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Thursday, Jan. 26: In recognition of Data Privacy Day 2017, NCSA is hosting a daylong event live from Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. Join us to watch exciting panels, TED-style talks and interviews focusing on the latest privacy issues for consumers and business. The event will be available online for the world to watch on Livestream, Periscope and Facebook Live.
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• Data Privacy Day Panel Discussion, Friday, Jan. 27, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (PST): Join privacy and security experts from ESET, Morrison & Foerster and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for a stimulating and educational Data Privacy Day panel discussion at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Diego, CA.

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