How To Keep Your Personal Information, Personal Online Privacy and Security

Personal Online Privacy and Security

Why Your Online Privacy Is Important 

What would you be comfortable sharing with strangers? Medical records, bank statements? Probably not. What about home addresses or your location? Most of us underestimate the importance of online privacy, and we share a lot more personal information about ourselves than we think. 

Have you ever thought about what social media does with the data you share? Your online traces, browsing history, purchases, and even online correspondences are all being collected as data. Most of us believe we have no control over data collected by private companies or the data collected by the government. In fact, 81 percent of respondents through a poll of American internet users claimed to have little to no control over their privacy. 

Essentially, online privacy means protecting your rights and keeping your private information to yourself. Learning how to protect your online privacy is a priceless skill to have. Due to data breaches and online tracking, it’s difficult to live a “private” online life, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With a few simple steps, you can protect your privacy while keeping your identity secure and reduce the amount of data companies collect about you. 

What is Information Privacy and Security? 

Broadly speaking, privacy is the right to have control over how your personal information is collected and utilized and security focuses more on protecting data from malicious attacks of stolen data for profit. 

The three most important pieces of information to keep private consist of: 

    • Personal health information: Medical records and history, insurance information and other private data that healthcare providers collect.
    • Personally identifiable financial information: Credit card numbers, bank account details and anything else concerning finances. 
  • Student records: An individual’s transcripts, billing details and other educational records. 

How To Protect Your Privacy Online

    1. Share less on social media. These days, Instagram and Snapchat users carelessly share their live locations. In fact, Instagram even encourages you to do so. When creating a post, a small icon tells you your exact location, giving you the opportunity to make it visible to the viewer of the post. Seems pretty harmless, right? Especially when your social media pages consist of your friends and your family. And celebrities have been doing it too. The truth is, whether your account is private or not, you’re sharing an important piece of information with your followers. And with tech-savvy generations, people kind find ways around private social media accounts simply by creating fake ones and pretending to be someone you may know or seem comfortable being followed by. With simple information of knowing you are out of town, in a different country, or even at a friend’s house, a thief or scammer can take advantage of that and take an unwelcomed visit to your home while you’re away lunching with your friends.
  • Use strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication. You’re not alone if you’re creating passwords of your favorite pet’s name. I’m guilty of it, but I learned my lesson the hard way. Strong passwords are the most important and can help protect you from identity theft and hackers. Keeping track of all your unique passwords by using apps such as Password Manager and 1Password can help you keep your information safe and secure. A second measure that can help you protect your passwords with hackers during a phishing attack is the two-factor authentication. It only takes a few extra minutes to type in a code sent to your phone or email to confirm that you are the owner of the account. 
  • Privacy Settings. Almost every app on your phone has a privacy setting, but most of us ignore it. By simply reviewing the privacy settings on the online accounts you use, you can be more aware of the information you are sharing online such as location tracking, public information, and likes, shares and comments. The best settings for you depend on what you want you’re comfortable with sharing and what you would like to protect. 
  • Block Those Search Engines! Did you know that your search engines track you? And they collect huge amounts of personal data and information about you. Google is the most commonly used search engine used by over 90 percent of the US population. Unfortunately, there is no one-way to eliminate all tracking on search engines such as Google, but there are steps you can take to improve search engine privacy, the most important is deleting your data. For google, you can go to the my activity dashboard and delete everything. 

Common Internet Privacy Issues

Common Internet Privacy Issues 

Let’s dive into some of the most controversial, privacy-invading practices that you probably don’t know about:

Have you ever had an unsettling feeling that your phone is listening to what you say? Well, you aren’t far from the truth. Search engines take note of everything you’ve been looking for and track websites that you visit. They can also keep all of your browsing history as well. Search engines can collect search history, cookies, IP addresses and click-through history. This type of information can be used for profiling, creating a customer persona based on the person’s browsing, shopping and social media preferences. Profiling becomes a serious privacy issue. Data-matching algorithms associate an individual’s profile with their personal information, and this can lead to data breaches. 

A second privacy-invading practice is social media data harvesting. Recently, social media privacy hit headlines after a number of scandals regarding the use of data to manipulate voters, cyberbullying, and doxing (sharing private information publicly). Major social networks have suffered data breaches leaving millions of users in a dangerous situation. For example, Facebook had a massive data breach that released the personal data of 533 million users, leaking personal information such as their full names, phone numbers, birth dates, email addresses, and even locations. 

Another common privacy-invading practice is cookies and online tracking. Ultimately, cookies are not harmful and they can even be considered helpful. They help collect your browsing information and let websites remember your login, preferences, and language settings. Cookies only become a concern when it puts a vast amount of collected data at risk without the users consent. 

Covid-19 has pushed people to migrate into the mobile world more than ever before. Mobile apps and privacy have become one of those privacy-invading practices that we don’t necessarily think about. More and more time is spent on phones meaning that internet browsing, ads clicking, and app downloading are becoming more frequent. Since, apps have learned more about us. The question is, what do apps know about us? Most apps require location details, usernames, phone numbers and email addresses. And they may also ask you for permissions that could potentially put you in trouble if it fell into the wrong hands. Certain permissions include access to your phone’s microphone, camera, contacts and even messages. It’s nerve-wracking to think about, but most of us don’t think twice about these kinds of things and we put more trust into our phones and apps than we should. 

Finally, an important privacy-invading practice is identity theft. It has been a crime since before the internet and is nothing new, but due to new technology it has opened up new opportunities for thieves, making it pretty simple to get a hold of your personal information without you even knowing about it. Online identity theft is common, and it happens when a stranger accesses your personal information to commit fraud. This information could vary from your driver’s license, bank details, tax numbers, social security numbers, or anything that could be used to impersonate you online. This information could even end up on the dark web and be sold for profit. 

Keeping private information, private 

The best thing you can do to avoid facing the issues discussed regarding privacy issues is keep your information as private and secure as possible. Thankfully, with FOUND ME you can do just that. FOUND ME provides tags and labels to help good samaritan’s contact you when finding a lost belonging. Most people put their information such as email, phone, and home address on their key chains, pets, and even on their phones and laptops. With each FOUND ME tag or label is a unique QR code that when scanned, is automatically sent to an automated, secure and global chat with you and the finder of your belongings. The best part is, none of your personal details or information is accessible to the finder. It is completely confidential, and you can share what you’re comfortable with sharing through the chat. 

To learn more about FOUND ME and what it has to offer, visit https://foundme.com

 

About us

We are all at risk of losing the people pets and valuables that mean the most to us. FOUND ME was created as a global solution to tamper this risk and provide peace of mind. We exist to protect everyone and everything important in our customer’s lives.

Try us out