Data Privacy Day is an international event that occurs every year on 28 January (this Saturday). Never heard of it? Chances are that you're not alone. The day was created back in 2007 to bring awareness to the “importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust.”
As you may or may not know, one of our founding cornerstones here at Artifcts is privacy. We believe your information is yours and yours alone. We will not sell or otherwise transact the personal information you entrust with us. Similarly, we want to ensure you are in control of your information and data, which is why we’ve made it easy for you to upload and download your files (and your Artifcts!). We also make it clear in our Content & Community Policy that you retain not only the right but also the ownership of any information you use in creating your Artifcts. Sadly, not all online platforms share our beliefs.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about simple steps you can take to enhance your privacy and safeguard your data wherever you have online accounts and transactions.
- PASSWORDS. Have you changed yours lately? We recommend you update your passwords at least once a year. And while you’re at it, ensure that your password is a strong password, that is, it has at least 12 characters, and includes alpha numeric and special characters.
- TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION. You may not like it, but you should use it, where available, especially when dealing with financial or personal, sensitive information, like medical records. Two factor authentication simply means that in addition to your login, you will be prompted for a second means of authenticating that it’s really you. This could be a text, a call, or an email. The latest generation even can include voice. Do a quick scrub of all your online banking and medical accounts to double check that two factor authentication is set up, and that your second means of authentication is up to date.
- PRIVACY MODES. Don’t want Google to track your every move? Tired of getting Amazon ads every time you click? Consider using the privacy mode setting in your browser (go to File > New Private Window, or similar path) or use a privacy-first browser from the get-go, such as Duck Duck Go or Brave. These browsers do not store your personal information or follow you around the Web with ads.
- WHEN IN DOUBT, DON'T CLICK! If you receive an email from an unknown sender with an attachment or link, don’t download, don’t click, and just to be extra safe, delete it from your inbox. What if you receive the link from a trusted contact? If it is out of the ordinary, or something you were not expecting, text, call, or otherwise double check outside of email just to be safe. Cyber criminals are getting smarter and developing new tactics seemingly daily, including spoofing (i.e., impersonating) email addresses.
Interested in learning more or looking for other resources? The Future of Privacy Forum has helpful infographics and educational materials, especially tips for protecting youth online. The Electronic Privacy Information Center also offers simple guidelines for consumer privacy and a break-down of some of the most common internet scams.
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