What is Data Privacy and How Can I Safeguard It?

By on Apr 01, 2020

There is certain information that is important to keep to yourself. If a stranger asks for your first name, you are likely to tell them. But if a stranger asks for your bank account number, you are unlikely to tell them. Data privacy works in the same way, if the piece of data or information is of high importance, it should be handled as such.

What data is considered private?

Technology has made it easy for data to be breached and get into the wrong hands. Data privacy is important for personal information and even more for special categories of personal data, that includes:

  • Social Security numbers
  • Medical records
  • Race and ethnic origin
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Political opinions
  • Trade union memberships
  • Biometric data used to identify an individual
  • Genetic data
  • Health data
  • Data related to sexual preferences, sex life, and/or sexual orientation

It’s important to keep even basic personal data protected in some way, including full names, addresses, and birthdates. Other data that should be protected includes, résumés, certificates, photos, employment records and social media account login credentials.

Why is data privacy important?

Someone who has access to any of your information could steal your identity, so keeping special categories of personal data and basic personal data private is important to keeping your identity safe. Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity and is usually used for financial gain such as obtaining credit and other benefits.

Protect your identity

 Identity Theft Protection can help you keep tabs on your credit identity and personal information. An identity monitoring service should offer features such as, cyber monitoring on the Dark Web, credit monitoring, and Social Security number tracing.   

Data privacy regulations

Consumers should understand their rights to their own private and personal information. If they don’t, regulations such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) help data protection, privacy and address the transfer of personal data. GDPR is an updated European law that empowers people and gives them back their power over their data.

In response to the GDPR, California responded with the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), an act that broadens  privacy rights by including data access rights and a limited private right of action, which went into effect in January of 2020. Residents of California have the CCPA to enhance their privacy rights and consumer protection.

Protect your data

Knowing your rights is key to understanding how your data can be protected, but there are simple practices to protect your privacy to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Adopt good cyber practices

How many times have you searched for a product online and then seen ads for similar products? This happens because 3rd party apps ask invasive permissions to gain access to your data when you install them, acting as an extension of your friend. In the digital world we live in, it is important to adopt good cyber practices to help ensure your private information is kept safe. You can take control over your own security settings to limit what information is available to 3rd parties online.

Secure your WIFI network and other devices: Start by looking for WIFI gateway routers that offer integrated security to help secure your network. Criminals can easily access your WIFI network and devices on that network if it isn’t secure. Once accessed, they can steal your private personal information.

Share with care

Be careful not to share personal details and certain contact information that could land in the wrong hands because sharing personal information online can be detrimental to your privacy.

Keep your passwords safe: Keeping your passwords safe can ensure that only you have access to your personal and private information. It is also smart to never use the same password and to always use strong and unique passwords.

Looks sketchy? Don’t click: Hackers commonly use strange links, images, and messages to reach your personal data, so avoid clicking any links that could be infected.

Use security protection: Browsing with a security protection tool can help protect devices against malware and other forms of personal information attacks. McAfee Total Protection can protect devices against these threats and also includes McAfee WebAdvisor, which can help identify malicious websites.

Use a personal information protection tool: Personal monitoring, financial monitoring and recovery tools, such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection help keep identities personal and secure.

Stay protected

Making a point to understand data privacy and protection can help you practice security in your daily life. Know your rights when it comes to data privacy and stay up to date on mobile security threats.

About the Author

McAfee

McAfee is the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee creates business and consumer solutions that make our world a safer place. Take a look at our latest blogs.

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