Data Privacy Week: All You Need To Know

Data Privacy Week: All You Need To Know

On 24 January 2022

Many people are unaware of and are uninformed about how their personal information is used, collected or shared in this digital age.

Data Privacy week is an intentional effort at empowering individuals to know what rights they have with regards to the protection of their personal data and to encourage businesses to respect privacy, safeguard the personal data of customers, and enable trust by being more transparent about how they collect and share personal data belonging to their customers 

To this end, Privacy Day (For the history nerds: Celebrated on January 28th to commemorate the signing of the first International Treaty dealing with Privacy and Data protection in 1981) was expanded to a week-long initiative to reflect the increased need to spread awareness about privacy and help people manage their personal information and keep it secure 

Most interactions we have online generate personal data such as your contact list, your photos, and your geographical location. This personal data is valuable to businesses since they help in providing more personalized services to you. It is important to make informed decisions about what data you share or not, considering issues such as the amount and type of personal data, and the benefits of sharing that data vis a vis the service you’re being provided with.

Managing your Personal Data

To manage your personal data, you should then, do the following at minimum: 

  • When you set up an app or an online account, ensure that you check the security and privacy settings and set them to a level you are comfortable with for information sharing 
  • Each browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari) has features to limit how and with whom you share your personal data e.g., using cookies (you can think of cookies as tiny pieces of information that your browser sends back to your computer about what you are doing on websites, which pages you are visiting etc.). Check these features and set them to your comfort limit.  
  • Normalize reading through cookie policies and privacy policies when prompted when visiting websites. However, if this is too much trouble, stick to reputable sites. 
  • Data privacy and data security go hand in hand i.e. you can never have privacy without keeping your data secure. Therefore, the basic security measures still apply e.g. use unique, complex passwords, add another layer of security by enabling two-factor authentication etc. 

As we celebrate Privacy Week, it is important for organisations to note that customers are more likely to consume the services of a business that has a reputation of safeguarding its customers personal data. In addition to that, as an individual, it is crucial that you continue to question how privacy and data security applies to the work you do daily and how you can keep safeguarding your personal data. 

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