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Taking a Trip Through Data Privacy, Part II

Taking a Trip Through Data Privacy, Part II

Earlier this week, you may have seen the first part of this article, where we discussed how robocallers collect your information. Today, we continue our discussion on data privacy and what you can do to keep your organization and personal data safe.

Pay Attention to What You Agree To
When you install an application or sign up for a service, they will provide you with a terms of use that includes what they can or can’t do with your information. Android, for instance, requires you to opt in to any information the app wants access to. Instagram wants access to your device’s camera and photo storage, but it might also request access to view and access your contacts, SMS, location, microphone, and even phone calls. This is used to improve the user experience through geotagging for photos and sharing images based on the location, but you should always be wary of what these apps are asking of you. After all, situations like Facebook’s sharing of personal information with Cambridge Analytica is a perfect example of what could go wrong. We don’t want to point fingers at any apps in particular, just to caution you to be careful about what data you share with your applications.

Marketers Love Big Data
This personal data is used by marketers to identify potential consumers and to generate customized advertisements to entice them. Many find targeted ads annoying, but the fact of the matter is that they work; why would they be used if they didn’t?

Even if you aren’t going to give in to the robocaller, for example, there are plenty of people out there who won’t think twice about doing so. When a business has access to the technology that sends out countless messages to prospective buyers, it’s no surprise that there will be at least a couple of takers--even for shady business like this. Of course, a business can just pay money to target only the most valuable customers with their personal data, making it more profitable than even the smaller targets.

All of the data shared in this manner adds fuel to the fire. Businesses need to ask themselves if they would take advantage of these technologies to connect with potential customers who would pay for their goods or services. It certainly might be tempting.

This is a double-edged sword in a sense, as people might have good experiences from using apps and websites, but they are doing so at the cost of their personal privacy. On the business end of things, you might enjoy the data for the purposes of collecting clientele, but you don’t know where the data comes from, who has access to it, and whether or not someone has given consent.

Hackers and Cybercriminals Aren’t Completely out of the Picture
A cybercriminal could easily steal data while it’s in transit from an app to a website, but this isn’t even necessarily the case here. The truth of the matter is that it’s not always clear how data is collected, who has access to it, and where it ultimately ends up. We’ve seen this countless times when a large organization is hacked, and millions of customer records are stolen or leaked online. Sony, Target, Marriott, and Equifax are only a few of the notables here. The data may have been collected normally, but was stolen by nefarious users. Hackers might even be willing to scrape together some funds to purchase some of this data from the dark web.

Privacy Continues to Be an Issue
It might just be tempting to get rid of social media, the smartphone, and live far away from the Internet, but this simply isn’t the answer. Technology is so ingrained in the way that society functions that it’s borderline impossible. The answer is being more mindful of the data and services used. It’s understandable why data sharing is helpful for so many organizations, even if we don’t like it.

Thankfully, there are methods being put into place to protect the privacy of users, like the stringent policies put into place by the EU’s GDPR. While it has established policies to help privacy, it has also created issues for businesses that can’t afford to comply. To this end, we want to help your organization best understand how to protect the data it collects. To learn more about how we can help your organization ensure data privacy, reach out to us at (703) 821-8200.

Tip of the Week: Handy Google Chrome Shortcuts
Taking a Trip Through Data Privacy, Part I


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