information privacy

How to Become a Master of Your Information Privacy

What is Information Privacy?

Information privacy, also known as data privacy or data protection, is data collection and distribution. Information privacy involves the general public’s expectation regarding privacy, the legalities, and political matters to sabotage privacy.

Information privacy is used in the context of personal data stored on computer systems. Personal information could be related to medical records, financial data, criminal records, political records, business-related information, and anything that involves data.

Information privacy is essential when it comes to sharing information with other parties. With an increase in cyberattacks and cybercriminals always prying on your private information, it’s critical to secure the data that you send and receive via the Internet.

Information privacy is applied using multiple methods, for example:

  • Encryption
  • Authenticating
  • Data masking

Each method attempts to ascertain that only people with authorized access get to the information. These protective measures prevent data mining and other unauthorized use of personal information.

While data mining and the sharing of one’s data without their consent are illegal in various parts of the world, the consent is rarely taken, and more often, the data is simply stolen, which puts a massive dent towards internet privacy. In essence, internet privacy relates to the privacy of data shared over the Internet.

By law, most websites display their privacy policy that details the website’s intended use of the collected information. However, enforcing that the privacy policy is followed religiously is another concern. For your data to be private, data privacy must be implemented.

How Does Data Privacy Work?

Data privacy is increasingly challenged on a day to day basis since it attempts to use the very data that it is supposed to protect while struggling to defend an individual’s privacy preferences and personally identifiable information (PII).

As more and more internet users reveal intricate details about themselves over the Internet, it has become a growing concern regarding who can access that information other than the site where a post has been uploaded. For example, when you share a picture on Facebook, the company has the right to use it for identifying you via facial recognition.

At the same time, if you’re using third-party extensions on your email account, such as Mail Track, they can read your email content, including the attachments. These concerns raise the question of whether third parties can continue to track the websites that someone visited.

The dawn of multiple search engines and the use of data mining has created the capacity for data to be collected and combined from a wide variety of sources very easily. This brings us to the question; how to secure your data on the web and master the art of information privacy?

How to Protect Your Data?

To begin with, you must know who you share your information with. If it’s an individual that you trust, then share the information.

Be Alert Regarding Malicious Actors

When you send your personal or financial information to someone, make sure you know them personally or trust the receiver. Don’t go about sharing your personal information via the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with.

Additionally, with phishing and smishing attacks on the rise, ensure that you don’t click suspicious links or reply to unknown senders. By clicking, you risk your privacy and data stored on your device.

Do a Factory Reset before Disposing Your Device

Before you dispose of a computer, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.

Encrypt Your Data

Use encryption to secure your data and online connection. When heading online, connect with a VPN to take advantage of military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. That’s not all; you have the liberty to connect to multiple locations and gain access to geo-restricted content.

Use Strong Passwords

Use a robust alphanumeric password for your devices and especially your online accounts, such as social media accounts, bank accounts, and other accounts.

Don’t Overshare on Social Networking Sites

Sharing moments of our private lives on social media has become a daily norm. However, when you post excessive information regarding your life online, snoopers and identity thieves are smart enough to guess challenge questions on your accounts, and gain access to your financial details and personal information.

Also, never post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or account numbers on publicly accessible sites.

Securing Your Social Security Number

Your SSN should be kept private as it can reveal a great deal of information about you. Always ask questions before you decide to share it with any individual or entity. 

Use Security Software

Security software such as a VPN and anti-virus software will defend you against cybercriminals by encrypting your online data. Be sure to keep your devices’ firewall switched on and have your OS updated for optimal online security.

Be Cautious When Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network

Public WiFi networks, such as the ones in a coffee shop, library, airport, hotel, or other public places, are a breeding ground for hackers eagerly waiting to target you. When connecting to any WiFi network, make sure you have a VPN installed on your device so that your internet connection and online communications are secured with encryption.

Go Through Terms of Service & Privacy Policies

We all skip through the privacy policy and terms of service of any software or application. The thing is that hidden in the long and complex content structure; companies discreetly mention data collection and data sharing as their terms of use.

Make a habit of reviewing the privacy policy of a company as it holds vital information about how the company will be using your data and whether they will share it with any third-parties.

Ather Owais Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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