Key Considerations for Consumers Around Data Privacy

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It’s 2018 – and though we’re not living in the age of flying cars, we are living in an age defined by the digital lifestyle. In today’s new age of technology, consumers are sharing more online than ever before. But, are people thinking about the privacy they sacrifice when they overshare online? This is especially top of mind as Data Privacy Day is upon us, which is an international effort held annually on January 28th to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. Data Privacy Day acts as an important reminder for consumers to step back and consider the digital footprint they are leaving, and the potential sensitive data they are exposing to cybercriminals. Let’s take a look at the way data is shared in the modern era, and how much of a priority data privacy really is.

The impact of the Internet of Things

One of the biggest changes to the modern digital age is the introduction of the Internet of Things, or, IoT devices. We sometimes refer to the growing amount of IoT devices as the “Internet of Me,” because these connected devices run on our personal info more often than not. The information or action provided by IoT devices is typically based on your data. Take a fitness tracker as an example, it might need some personal details in order to customize a health plan and calculate your progress towards your health goals. This is just one example of the amount of data shared with IoT devices, but reminds us that we all must remember that IoT devices put our personal information in more places in ever before, and potentially in more hands too.

Privacy as a priority

So, when it comes to keeping all of this data private – just how concerned are consumers? Well, per our recent survey, 43% of those surveyed feel like they lack control over their personal information. And another 33% are unsure to what degree they can control how companies collect their personal information.

What’s more — even though consumers are concerned about personal information and identity, only 37% of individuals use an identity theft protection solution, and 28% have no plans to sign up for an ID theft protection solution. Plus, despite the recent increase in breaches, 39% of respondents claim their concern about online security has remained the same or has decreased over the past five years.

How to protect your personal information

Now, the question is – what next? How can you channel the important takeaways from Data Privacy Day into your everyday life? Start by following these tips:

  • Think carefully about what you are posting/sharing. Are you broadcasting that you are out of town on social media? Are you giving that app or IoT device more information than it really needs? It’s important to be conscious about how and when you share your personal information online or with an app/service. It’s also a good security practice to only share personal data when it’s truly necessary.
  • Check your privacy settings. This is an easy one. If you are inclined to overshare personal information, make sure you adjust your settings so that you only share data when required, or only with people you know and trust.
  • Utilize an identity theft solution. With all this personal data floating around online, it’s important to stay aware of any attempts to steal your identity. Use an identity theft solution, such as McAfee Identity Theft Protection, that can help you protect you personally identifiable information from identity theft and fraud.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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