Protect Yourself In a Data-Driven World



We live in a world of share, share, share. What’s your phone number? What’s your social security number and birth date? Can I get your pic? Can I follow you on Insta, FB, Twitter? Then there’s an entire level of sharing that we don’t even know about. What does the FBI, NSA, or my county government have on me? Is my doctor, pharmacist, or WebMD sharing my health data with anyone? What is Google, Facebook, or Apple collecting about me?

Today is Data Privacy Day, a day aimed at helping consumers understand how to protect their online information and encourage businesses to be more transparent in how they collect and use data. For victims of stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, knowing how their personal information is collected and shared is imperative since disclosing their private information can be the difference between safety and danger.

Survivors take great strides in protecting their privacy from abusers who seek to harm them. They disengage from social media; they get new cell phones and laptops; they put additional security on their accounts. Yet, when information about them is shared: such as medical information between health insurance companies; state databases that are connected to allow additional access; or just the postal office sharing changes of addresses with data brokers – survivors’ privacy can be comprised.

Some of this sharing is beyond our control, which is why Data Privacy Day is so important. We need to protect our information by being careful over what and to whom we share our information and advocate for more control over our own personal information when others are sharing it.

What can you do? Here are some practical steps you can take: 

Other tips? Share them in the comments!