January 28 is Data Privacy Day

Momentum is gathering for Data Privacy Day, which will be held on January 28, with events scheduled on the day and during the surrounding weeks. The brainchild of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the event is sponsored by some big industry names including Intel and eBay Inc. Data Privacy Day is designed to promote awareness about the many different ways our personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared. And hopefully educate net citizens about the best ways to protect their personal information.

The privacy landscape of today is much different to that of say 25 years ago. Today our identities, locations, purchases and online histories are stored digitally and analysed constantly. How to control online privacy is as much a question for individual users as it is for the big web sites (like Google and Facebook), businesses, Internet Service Providers (ISP), and state and federal governments.

The DPD website has a number of education resources for Teens and Young Adults as well as Parents and Kids. Included are educational presentations and scripts for use in junior high and high school classrooms and a collection of online resources and videos designed for especially for parents and younger children.

It is important  that we constantly educate ourselves, our families and our friends about online privacy. Use the DPD day as an opportunity to remind people that almost every activities on the Internet leaves a digital foot print. Use the resources on the DPD site and tell people about this Privacy Blog. Education and prevention is the key rather than waiting until your identity has been stolen or your house robbed because of online privacy mistakes.

“This year, we encourage all digital citizens to take an active role in learning safe practices and behaviors. We encourage people to follow the basic advice from the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign and protect their personal information. It is our collective and shared responsibility to help make the Internet a safer environment in which people have the ability to protect the privacy of their personal information, and it starts with three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

How can I protect my information from being misused?
According to a survey by the NCSA, 54 percent of Americans are extremely concerned about loss of personal or financial information. So what can you do? Here are five tips for better online privacy. Share them with your friends and family. Keep safe and stay protected.

  • Create strong passwords (including letters and symbols) and don’t use the same password over and over again.
  • Keep your OS (Windows, OS X) up to date. Also keep your anti virus software updated.
  • Beware of unsolicited messages (via email or within social networking sites like Facebook) with links to unknown websites.
  • Scan your computer regularly for malware and rootkits.
  • Use privacy tools like Hide My IPCookie Crumble and Firewall Fortify to protect your online privacy. You should also strongly consider using a virtual private network (VPN) like FoxyVPN.

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