January 28 is officially Data Privacy Day, organized annually by the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote privacy awareness. This year, Keepsafe has joined forces as an official Champion. The day’s themes: respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust align naturally with Keepsafe’s values. Every time we import and encrypt photos stored in Keepsafe Photo Vault and secure an internet connection with Keepsafe VPN, we help people control their privacy and protect their personal space.
When people rush to use cool, new products and gloss over privacy policies and terms of service; they calculate the privacy trade-off they are making with whether they can trust a particular company with an instance of their data. By now, we all know that people rarely provide companies with a single data point…And a single piece of data is far different from providing a company with ten years of usage and surfing.
But what does giving over one’s data really mean? To most people, their “data” is meaningless until an aggregator starts to make sense of it; connecting the dots to paint a portrait of someone’s identity, interests and proclivities. What does it matter if I share my location with a particular app? Who cares if “like” certain Facebook posts? In isolation, this data exchange may not seem to matter, but as historical data is linked together, it can form a pattern of characteristics and behavior. In fact, when applied to even larger data set, technology can even begin to predict your interests and future actions. When this becomes apparent to you or someone you care about, it starts to feel a lot like surveillance. Suddenly, people are alarmed when they see ads for something they just discussed with a close friend.
What has also become increasingly clear in recent years is that a person’s privacy and data security goes well beyond a single customer-company relationship. We see data breaches among service providers like Equifax that provide credit reports to lenders so that people can purchase cars, homes and get business loans. We see more sophisticated ad tracking from large tech companies with troves of search profile and browsing information (and soon we will see the same from internet service providers). We also see people’s data being passed from one business to the next over the course of normal business operations that leave people vulnerable when there’s no shared accountability for adherence to privacy policies and terms. Moreover, trying to opt out of a data aggregator or service provider’s database (when you never opted-in in the first place) is sometimes not even a choice.
These larger abstract issues are gaining in awareness and soon, regulation. But it’s also important not to ignore the role that basic privacy plays in people’s lives. We don’t always want others to know what websites we look at, what search terms we use, what we buy, what we watch, or what we read. We don’t necessarily want others to access our documents, personal photos or videos.
Data Privacy Day is a good reminder to everyone that they control their personal privacy and that of their customers. We need to give people simple ways to protect their personal space whether it’s in their homes, on their phones or computers or in the cloud. People need privacy to explore their identities, act autonomously and be themselves. Privacy is a fundamental right that must be protected. At Keepsafe we are working to make it simple and easy to protect yourself.