Protecting Your Personal Information: Data Privacy Day
When it comes to your personal data online, how many times have you heard someone say something like “it doesn’t matter, they already have all of my information?” Perhaps you’ve said the same thing. It’s a common opinion to hold, and a major reason why Data Privacy Day exists.
Held annually on January 28, Data Privacy Day is an international event to raise awareness and initiate conversations around the protection and use of our personal data online. The core message is broken down into these 3 best practices that help guide us towards safer online habits.
1) Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it.
2) Keep tabs on your apps.
3) Manage your privacy settings.
Source: Data Privacy Day
It’s these behaviours that will help keep your data safe and secure. As official champions of Data Privacy Day, we will discuss these best practices over the next few weeks, starting today with some tips on how to protect your personal information.
Your personal information is valuable
In a world where almost everything we do costs money, have you ever wondered how most of the things that we do online are free? Whether it’s social media, email, or plain old web browsing, we generate a ton of data when we go online, and it’s this data that’s of great value and interest to third parties such as marketing research firms and advertisers. Canadians are protected by various privacy laws when compared to the United States, however they do not completely prevent organizations from collecting, buying, and selling your personal information. There’s no immediate need to panic however; the people that are interested in your digital breadcrumbs don’t necessarily have nefarious intentions. It’s important, though, to be aware of how your activities are tracked, and what your data can be used for.
Use a VPN
One way of controlling how visible you are when conducting online activities is to use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, which masks the IP address from which you’re connecting to the internet. Because your IP address is specific to your internet connection, it can be tracked by websites to gather information such as your location, browsing history, shopping habits, and more. Using a VPN tricks web servers into thinking that you’re connecting from a different IP address, thereby preventing hackers and advertisers from tracking your activity. TELUS Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock™ includes a robust Secure VPN solution with bank-grade encryption that allows you to browse securely – even on public Wi-Fi hotspots and unsecured networks – and you can learn more about how it works here. NortonLifeLock™ also has a comprehensive introduction to VPNs, which includes an extensive list of different options that exist.
Reconsider your web browser
A quick web search will yield many websites that discuss browser privacy, and it is clear that not all internet browsers protect your personal information equally. Internet browsers such as Firefox and Brave are well-known for protecting user privacy, while other browsers such as Google Chrome have certain caveats when it comes to how data is collected. Above all else, awareness is what’s most important. Understanding how your browser works behind the scenes and making informed online decisions is key. One of the simplest ways to protect your online privacy is regular clearing of your browser’s cache and search history. Our partners at NortonLifeLock™ also recommend these best practices for internet privacy.
What steps do you take to protect your personal information online? Do you have a preferred browser when it comes to protecting your privacy? Do you use a VPN? Let us know in the comments - we’d love to hear what you have to say. Don't forget to check out TELUS Online Security to see how you can safeguard your digital lifestyle.
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