Today our lives are becoming very connected to the digital world. We use various digitals tools to fulfil our day to day activities. For example, you may use the Zoom platform for an online meeting with your co-workers or you may post something funny in your Facebook profile. But most people do not care about the concept of ‘Data Privacy in the Modern Digital World’. So today let’s discuss this concept of data privacy and the importance of it.
Before moving on to the importance of data privacy, let’s first understand what data privacy is. According to Jeff Petters who is a product marketing specialist at Varonis (1), ‘ Data privacy is a branch of data security concerned with the proper handling of data’. He divides the data privacy into three parts,
- Whether or how data is shared with third parties.
- How data is legally collected or stored
- Regulatory restrictions on data such as GDPR(2).
I think now you have a good idea about why we should pay more attention to our data privacy. Now there is another issue, Do you think our data is safe? Do you think all these big companies securely store our data? Before answering those questions, let me take you to back to 2016, in this year there was a massive data breach happened in Uber(5) that affected some 57 million customers, including both riders and drivers, revealing their names, email address and phone numbers. They had to pay nearly $100,000 to the hackers to get rid of those data, and that is not all, they covered that incident for more than a year! That is just one incident, there are many such incidents which has happened across the globe. Now I think you know the answer to the above questions.
But we cannot live our lives without these digital tools. Then how can WE protect our privacy in this 0,1 world? There are a few steps we can take such as,
- Always have control over what you share to your social media profiles and never share anything intimate or sensitive to ‘public’ try to change it to ‘friends only’ or some other configuration.
- If an app asked for weird permissions just say NO!. As an example, if a sudoku app asked for permission to access your camera just uninstall that app. Also, you can always remove these granted permissions (to apps) through your settings page in your smartphone.
- When downloading apps to your smartphone, always do that through the Google play store (for android users) or Apple app store (for Apple users). Never download apps through some 3rd party websites (unless you really want to😉).
- If you are in a public place always try to avoid open wireless networks. Even though they are free they can be abused. Just assume you are in a Pizza Hut and you try to access their public wifi, but you find two such wifi connections(‘PizzaHut’, ‘PizzaHUT’) one may be set up by a malicious attacker and if you connect to their connection, they can track your every move on the internet. If you really want to use those open networks, try to use a VPN, it will protect your connection and others would not be able to detect your online activities. (to learn more about VPNs refer this link).
Finally, if anyone is interested in learning more about data privacy and its importance I have given some links below that you can refer(6) and if you found this article useful and interesting please feel free to share this among your friends and colleagues.
Always remember that If it’s free, you’re probably the product!
Thank you and Bye for now 👋👋
Special thanks should go to Yogya Gamage who helped me by proofreading this article.
(6) Extra References