Data Privacy Day is a Reminder to Check Your Security #PrivacyAware

The following was published in yesterday's editions of Foster's and Seacoast Sunday.

This past Tuesday, Jan. 28, was the annual Data Privacy Day. Put on by the National Cyber Security Alliance, this is an annual event that asks everyone to stop and pay attention to the privacy of their personal information as well as the data and information they work with in their jobs.


I’ve been encouraged by the general increase in cyber security awareness over the past year. I hear public service spots on the radio pretty often lately about your personal and professional cyber safety. These spots are put on by the New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management. You can learn more about their initiates at www.readynh.gov. We need more public outreach like these programs, to keep this important matter top of mind.

In the case of Data Privacy Day, this initiative has been ongoing since 2008. It began as an extension of a similar initiative that began in Europe after the signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection, so this has global significance.


Especially in these times of increasing concerns about the safety of our personal and professional identities and data, Data Privacy Day takes on even more importance. Data Privacy Day is promoted by “Champions” who represent companies and other organizations of all sizes, public and private schools, higher education, nonprofit organizations, governments and private citizens. I have been a Data Privacy Day Champion, both personally as well as my businesses, since its earliest days.


You may learn all about Data Privacy Day at the NCSA website, https://staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day. Even though the date has passed, the NCSA keeps the site up to date throughout the year and completely refreshes it for the next year’s event.


A cornerstone of the day is a live streaming event featuring speakers on a variety of relevant topics. Much of the event was recorded and is available on YouTube or from the link in the previous paragraph.


New this year is a great tool that the NCSA put together to help everyone improve their online privacy. I encourage you to navigate to https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/managing-your-privacy/manage-privacy-settings/ and click through the links for any online services that you use. These links will take you directly to the privacy page for the selected service and will help you check and further secure your account. It’s a good idea to review your privacy settings for all of your online accounts at least once a year. Companies change their privacy policies all the time. I’m sure you’ve seen no shortage of messages from various companies asking you to accept their latest privacy policy. Almost no one reads the lengthy legalese associated with these updates, so it’s important to check to see if your privacy settings are adversely impacted.


While this may seem like a cumbersome exercise, if your online privacy is important to you, it’s a worthwhile one. If you don’t periodically review and tune your privacy settings, you have no one to blame but yourself if more of your personal information is available online that you want.


Make Data Privacy Day your annual online checkup on your privacy, both for home and work. You’ll be glad you did.

© 2020 by MJ Shoer, LLC.