Data Privacy Week
Since 1981, many countries around the world have observed Data Privacy Week during the last week of January, with Data Privacy Day taking place on January 28th. This day commemorates the signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
This week is important to recognize because as technology continuously evolves, so does the responsibility to ensure our personal information stays protected. Especially for students and families, who may often be expected to be “always on” in our digital-first world of online classes, digital workplaces and online report cards or school portals, keeping data privacy top of mind is very important.
Here are a few ways you can keep your important information safe!
1. Ensure privacy settings are up to date
Our devices are constantly asking us to make software updates. While this may help devices run better, it can often re-set important settings. Before completing an update, set a reminder for yourself to check that our privacy settings remain intact.
2. Don’t share personal information with questionable sources
When it comes down to it, rarely (if ever) would a credible organization ask you to share personal, valuable information with them via email, phone or social media. If a request ever does come through, make sure it’s an email address or phone number you recognize. NEVER click on any suspicious links.
If you’re active on social media, you’ve most likely received direct messages asking you to contact another account to become an “ambassador” or seen multiple accounts with similar names follow you after entering a contest. Be sure to read the rules and regulations of each contest you enter, and never interact with an account pretending to select winners. In any case, any account (even the one posting the contest) asking for more than a mailing address is best to avoid.
3. Vet every online transaction
According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, it’s best to ask yourself the following questions before engaging with each new online transaction:
- Who is collecting the information?
- Is it necessary for the transaction?
- What will be done with it?
- What are the potential consequences for sharing this information?
If you are still unsure, consider doing some research. Look up what others are saying about the organization in question via online reviews and/or the Better Business Bureau.
4. Read the fine print
Reviewing the terms and conditions for each online transaction can seem tedious, but it may make all the difference. By having complete understanding of what it is you are agreeing to and how your information will be used will better equip you to make informed decisions.
5. Review best practices as a family
Children use the internet regularly and may even have more advanced technical knowledge than their parents. While they may know more about the newest apps, they may not pay as much attention to how this can affect their privacy or why it is so important to not share personal information. Consider taking the time to inform your children on why data protection is important and share some of the dos and don’ts of being online. It may also be worthwhile to apply some restrictions to your children’s devices to ensure mistakes aren’t made.