It's 2010. Do you know where your data is?
January 28 marks the third annual Data Privacy Day, recognized in the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries, and established to raise awareness and generate discussion about data privacy and protection. The day offers an opportunity for businesses to examine their practices in managing data entrusted to them, as well as for individuals to assess the protection of their own personal information and consider how their online behavior may threaten their own data privacy.
In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized -- our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes -- it's important to keep in mind some key questions: Who is collecting all of this? What are they doing with it? With whom are they sharing it? How can I protect my information from being misused?
Here are a few suggestions on learning more about privacy and how to protect yours:
- Watch the Frontline documentary Digital_Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, airing on PBS on February 2, 2010 at 9 pm on PBS for answers to some of the above questions. Visit the Digital Nation website to see rough cuts and raw footage used in the making of the film, and to provide your own feedback. The website's Living Faster, Relationships, and Learning sections, in particular, feature the viewpoints of a variety of experts about privacy in our digital world. View the trailer now.
- If you use a social networking site, login and carefully check your privacy settings. The Data Privacy Day site offers links to sites with tips on this, such as 10 New Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know. The following links to popular sites' privacy pages can help get you started: Facebook | MySpace | Twitter | Second Life | Flickr | MSN/Windows Live.
- Attend the online event Data Privacy Day @ IU. Indiana University has assembled a full day of seminars that they will be broadcasting live on January 28th (via Adobe Connect). The day's schedule includes presentations on The Bits and Bytes of Privacy Protection (focusing on protecting sensitive data both in transit and at rest) and How Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Privacy Can All Coexist.
- Change your online account passwords to longer and more complex ones. The more valuable the data -- such as your banking information -- the stronger the password should be (see New Year, New Password article for password tips).
- Visit the Data Privacy Day website for a host of resources.