International Data Privacy Day

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International Data Privacy Day

10 practical tips to improve your privacy

Today, the 28th of January, marks International Data Privacy Day! Obviously we cannot let this day pass without acknowledging the importance of privacy.

We see that organizations are increasingly making efforts to process personal data responsibly, but there are also steps we can take in our personal life to improve upon our own privacy. We put together 10 simple ways in which you improve your privacy right now! We hope that you will find these tips useful and that you share them with some of your friends and family to make them more privacy conscious with these practical tips.

Tip 1 – Use your webcam shutter

When you are not using your webcam, make sure you block the camera with your webcam shutter. If you do not have one that is that is build-in, you can buy one separately or craft one yourself. This shutter prevents unwanted capture of images or videos through spyware.

Tip 2 – Limit collecting cookies

Cookies, and in particular third party cookies, track your behavior while browsing online. Cookies record a lot of personal information about you and can really impair your online privacy. Though some cookies improve upon your experience of a website, they are not required for a website to function. You can limit the collection of cooking by deleting the existing cookies, changing the cookie setting within your browser and/or install a cookie blocker (for instance https://privacybadger.org/).

Tip 3 - Use a privacy proof copy of your ID

When going to a hotel or renting a car, they often ask to make a copy of your ID. To make sure your ID is not used for identify fraud, you can prepare privacy proof copies of your ID in advance! To make them privacy proof, cross out any information that they do not need, for instance identification number, photo and autograph. Also write on the copy the word ‘copy’, with the date and the organization you give it to. There is also a governmental app called KopieID that will do this for you!

Tip 4 – Only use messaging systems with end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a type of technology where only the communicating users can read the messages. It prevents potential eavesdroppers, including telecom providers and Internet providers, from being able to read your messages. Messaging apps like Whatsapp, Signal and Telegraph use this system.

Tip 5 – Check the app settings on your phone

Within your phone settings, you can see your ‘permissions’, which indicates what apps can for instance track your location, use your microphone or camera. Try to make sure that apps do not have access to these things if they are not necessary for the way you use these apps.

Tip 6 – Create a difficult password and do not use the same password twice

A good password is one that can not easily be guessed (so not ‘password123’). Try to avoid using personal information in your password, do not use real words, add numbers, capital letters and special characters. On way to achieve this is to think of a random sentence and use the first letters of these words as a password. Together with capital letter, numbers and special characters, your password will then look something like: ‘IHVdhu_88’.

Tip 7 – Do not use public Wi-Fi

It can be tempting to use public Wi-Fi, for instance when you are in a foreign country and do not want to use data roaming. However, public Wi-Fi hotspots can also provide an easy way for identity thieves and cybercriminals to monitor what you’re doing online and to steal your passwords or personal information. Never assume that a public Wi-Fi network is secure, and try to avoid using them.

Tip 8 – Provide fake information

A lot of websites and apps today require you to register in order to use that website or service. Within registration they often ask for a lot of detailed personal information. Frequently, not all of this information is necessary for the working of the websites or apps. There is no shame in using fake personal information in this case (e.g. wrong address, sex, last name, email). Note: Do not do this when official registration is required (for instance for work or the government)

Tip 10 – Use a VPN

Though not all VPN’s are trustworthy (so do your research!), a VPN can help in protecting your privacy. When a VPN routes your traffic through a server, the connection is encrypted, meaning that only you and the server can decrypt the traffic.

More information?

For more information on data privacy, please do not hesitate to contact Annika Sponselee via the contact details below.

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