7 Ways to Celebrate Data Privacy Day

data privacy dayData Privacy Day takes place on January 28 each year. This day is designated internationally as a time to focus on protecting and respecting privacy, raising awareness about data risks, and empowering consumers to be accountable for how and where their information is used.

Celebrate Data Privacy Day this year with the following activities to help yourself and others stay safe.

Attend a Data Privacy Day Event

You can participate in Data Privacy Day events both online and in person. There are a number of events that can provide valuable information for professionals.

In Atlanta, you can attend Health Privacy in a Fully Connected World at the Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech. San Francisco is hosting Data Privacy Trends 2015. The Second Annual Business of Privacy Summit is scheduled January 27, the day before Data Privacy Day, in New York.

If you’re unable to attend an event in person, you can log on to participate in webinars like¬†EDUCAUSE Live!: The Power of Privacy & the Passion to Build Something Better. Twitter chats will take place on and around Data Privacy Day to address current trends and concerns as well.

Share What You Know on Social Media

Social media is an excellent place to get the conversation started on data privacy. Hit the Internet on or around Data Privacy Day, and you’ll find plenty of coverage to explore.

Learn from IT experts and data privacy professionals. Check out the latest news on security breaches and take some time to delve a little deeper into what’s going on.

Share the valuable information that you find with friends and family. Even something as simple as a tweet reminding everyone of the most important steps to protect their privacy can have an impact.

Request a Credit Report

You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. If you spread these out, you can get a free credit report every four months.

It’s important to look through your credit report regularly because this is often where you’ll find the first signs of identity theft. Your report may show accounts in your name that you weren’t aware of or reflect inaccurate information.

If you haven’t checked your credit report recently, take a moment to request a free credit report in honor of Data Privacy Day. Put it on your calendar as a recurring task and stay on top of this important activity.

Update Your Passwords

We all know that we should update our passwords regularly, but not everyone really goes to the trouble of doing it. Go through all your important accounts and change your passwords. Make sure they’re not the same. Challenge yourself to come up with something completely original that you’ve never used before. Use a combination of¬†numbers, letters, and symbols and avoid any recognizable words.

While you’re at it, set up a recurring reminder to do this again in three months. While it’s certainly annoying to have to come up with a new original password every 90 days, remember it’s not nearly as troublesome as dealing with an account that’s been hacked.

Revisit Your Privacy Settings

Your privacy settings control what you share with the world. Your social media accounts, blogs, email, and other profiles you’ve created online all have their own privacy settings. You may never think to look at these, but Data Privacy Day offers the perfect opportunity to start. Log in, read the fine print, and check out where your information is really going.

If you’re not actively managing your settings, things like your Facebook pictures and updates are probably public knowledge. Unless you’ve changed the settings on your smartphone, these photos may also contain geotagging information that will tell tech-savvy predators exactly where your pictures were taken. It’s important to make informed decisions about where your information goes.

Don’t forget to check out lesser used accounts, like those set up with online forums. If you create a login for your favorite magazine’s website, you may also have a searchable profile there that others can use to find you. In most cases, these profiles don’t present a problem, but if you’re sensitive to where your data is, you should take a magnifying glass to your online presence.

To make it easy for you, click here to get instructions to update privacy settings for all the different services.

Give Your Computer a Check-Up

You should always maintain current antivirus and anti-malware software on your computer. Open yours now and make sure everything is up to date. Go through the programs you use most often and download any available updates for those as well.

Also, if you haven’t already done so, you should download the Hotspot Shield VPN app to protect your data from snoopers and hackers. This is especially important if you regularly connect to public WiFi.

If you’ve been putting off major updates to your computer, you could be leaving a wide open door for cyber-criminals. Updates are often issued to plug known holes that hackers have gotten through.

You can give your computer a free security check-up from the National Cyber Security Alliance to make sure everything is as it should be. If you do find areas of concern, you may be able to take advantage of Data Privacy Day deals to plug the holes.

Talk to Your Children

If you have children, Data Privacy Day gives you the perfect opening to initiate conversation with them about the importance of data privacy. Children and teenagers today face temptations that most adults never had to think about in their own school days.

A Pew Research study found that 71 percent of teens post their school name on social media. Fifty-three percent share their email address, and 20 percent post a cell phone number. Additionally, 92 percent use their real name on their profile, and 82 percent share their birth date.

It’s tempting and easy to share more information than appropriate. Children often fail to realize how far and how fast a picture or video can spread. Use this day as an important reminder to everyone in your family of just how critical data security and personal privacy are on the Internet.

Data Privacy Day is a helpful reminder that your information privacy and security is a concern you need to address every day. Use this day as a good excuse to give your own presence a check-up.

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