The 2012 international celebration of Data Privacy Day is scheduled for January 28.
Why the concern about privacy?
What may begin as a casual Facebook update or an innocuous tweet could easily come back to haunt you down the road. Unlike writing something on the bathroom wall, which can be easily painted over, what we do online is permanent. This includes status updates or comments on a friend's wall in Facebook, tweets, e-mail and online chats.
All of these on-line activities contribute to your online reputation -- a reputation that can impact being accepted to the college or university of your choice or a future employment opportunity.
Disclosing too much information online can also lead to identity theft, resulting in the loss of personal data, such as passwords, user names, banking information, or credit card numbers.
Protect Your PrivacyTake steps now to protect your privacy.
Don't share too much personal information online. Having your date of birth, address, where you went to school, mother's maiden name, and other personal information available to the public is the first step to identity theft.
The public does not need to know every location you "check-in" to via your smart phone and neither do the burglars!
Take advantage of the enhanced security and privacy features available in the browser you use. (See my article, Internet Explorer 9, Privacy and Security Enhancements, for tips on protecting your privacy and security.)
Use caution accepting friend requests in social media venues such as Facebook. Just because someone sends a friend request, it is not necessary to accept it. Be certain the person is someone known to you.
Parents need to monitor the online activities of their children.
ResourcesTake advantage of the helpful resources below which include information on privacy settings for Microsoft products and excellent advice from Sophos on Facebook privacy.
- Microsoft Press Pass: Microsoft Provides Tips to Help Protect Your Online Image
- Microsoft Privacy: Privacy Settings and Technology
- Sophos: Facebook Security - Best Practices For Protecting Yourself On Facebook
- Sophos, Naked Security: Facebook’s ticker privacy scare, and what you should do about it
- Stay Safe Online: Data Privacy Day
- The Washington Post: Google tracks consumers’ online activities across products, and users can’t opt out
Related: Data Privacy