It’s Data Privacy Day, and Companies Know More About You Than Ever

Privacy

Nowadays companies know more about you than ever. But do you know what they’re doing with all your data?

Today’s Data Privacy Day, and at F-Secure we usually talk a lot about defending your personal data from online criminals: the likes of hackers, scammers and WiFi snoops. But today we’d like to talk a little about how your privacy can be invaded completely legally – by private businesses who collect your data, and how you can protect yourself.

We give companies unprecedented access to our personal info and shopping habits. We give knowingly, such as when we fill out a website form. We also give in ways we may not be aware of, in the case of online advertisers who track our clicks around the web and gain insight into our interests and preferences. These advertisers are building up detailed, extensive profiles about us so they can target us with online ads we’ll be more likely to click on. The apps we install garner even more of our information. Not to mention what we give to social networks and our email providers.

The result: a mass of digital data is spread around about each of us that’s super difficult to control.

An Adroit Digital study found that 58% of respondents aren’t comfortable with the amount of information they have to give to get special offers or services from retailers, and 82% are uncomfortable with the amount of information online advertisers have about them. And according to a survey by SAS, more than 69% of respondents agree that recent news events have increased their concerns about their data in the hands of businesses.

News events like all-too-common data breaches, no doubt. But there’s also a skepticism of what businesses and organizations may do with the data they are entrusted with. Last week, for example, Americans were shocked to learn that their government’s healthcare website had been quietly funneling consumers’ personal details along to advertising and analytics companies.

At F-Secure, we’ve always been extremely conscious about the responsibility we have to respect the privacy of our customers’ data and content. We recently put our core privacy principles into a structured form and shared them with the world – and Micke delved into them in a recent 3-part series.

We also are passionate about helping you protect your own privacy – which is why we’ve created privacy-centered products like Freedome, which keeps online advertisers out of your business by blocking tracking.

At the very least, we hope to inspire you to be, if not already, a little more aware of your data trail. So in celebration of Data Privacy Day, here are a few tips for helping you keep from spreading your data too far:

6 Tips for Defending Your Personal Data

  • Check before committing. If your relationship with a business means you’ll be giving up a lot of data to them, check for a privacy policy or principles that outline how they use customer data
  • Choose privacy. Turn on Private or Incognito mode in your web browser so that websites can’t use cookies to identify you
  • Check your settings. Use this handy list to check your privacy settings on all the most popular sites, from ecommerce to social media and more. Provided by the folks behind Data Privacy Day.
  • Search carefree. Use F-Secure Search, our free search engine that makes sure your search history is not stored anywhere or linked to you
  • Get informed. Use F-Secure App Permissions, our free app that lets you know what information you’re giving up to the apps you’ve installed on your phone
  • Keep advertisers at arms’ length. Use F-Secure Freedome, our privacy app that blocks third-party online advertisers from following you around the Web. Freedome is available for a free 14-day trial here.

 

Happy Data Privacy Day!

 

Image courtesy Philippe Teuwen, flickr.com

 

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