With Data Privacy Day coming up on January 28, it’s a good time to examine what privacy means to us and perhaps rethink our sharing (or oversharing) habits. The personal and financial perils of sharing too much are very real, but most of us just keep on sharing.
Data Privacy Day “encourages everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. DPD is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.”
Clearly we love to share on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – and everywhere else we can, but are we empowered by sharing? Or just the opposite?
For the mom blogger who shared a photo on Instagram while her toddler was getting stitches in the ER, the cost may be clear when she’s face-to-face with an angry teen demanding to know why his childhood privacy (and HIPAA rights) were violated. Then there’s the old story of the unfortunate family whose photo ended up in an advertisement for a grocery store in Prague along with the very current concerns about personal Facebook photos ending up in a big brand’s advertising campaign. Even Google has gotten into the game. There are also numerous and ongoing stories of professionals getting fired for inappropriate shares on Facebook.
According to the Washington Post – ABC News Poll, the majority of Americans think the NSA has gone too far in their data gathering of our phone calls, but many of us still share our photos, locations, and personal details with nary a thought.
Working with a privacy-first photo app, Trunx, has opened my eyes to all the ways our data is bought and sold, but more and more companies are taking a stand for the privacy rights of consumers. One of my favorite extensions is Disconnect.me. It blocks over 2000 tracking sites and encrypts shared data. One look at the extension shows exactly who’s watching me and it’s alarming to see how many companies follow me across the web. MyPermissions is another interesting tool that can tell you exactly what permissions you’ve granted to the various apps on your computer – and your phone.
After all the hacks, security breaches and snooping scandals of 2013, it may be the right moment to take a stand for our own privacy. Data Privacy Day is all about encouraging just that. Follow the hashtag #DPD2014 tomorrow and join the conversation.
Maybe 2014 will end up being the Year of Privacy.
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