KT Connections Blog

Data Privacy Goes Beyond A Secure Password


Celebrated on January 28, Data Privacy or Data Protection Day, was first held in January 2008. Its goal is to bring awareness and develop best practices to how we manage our data and who we share our information with. KT Connections offers a variety of security services to help protect your business from risks to your data safety and your privacy.

We need to recognize data privacy is much more than just adding a capital letter, a number, and symbol to your password. The goal of Data Privacy Day (also known as Data Protection Day) is to build awareness about data privacy which goes beyond concerns of identity theft or spyware; there’s also concern about social media and how we often ignore good practices in favor of accessibility.

When we think about Data privacy and social media, we must examine how we interact with each other in the digital world. To have real data privacy particularly in social media requires you hold something back; you restrict access not only to your passwords but who has access to your digital self.

The catch is of course that social media is designed to expose as much of yourself, as quickly as possible to everyone and anyone; all you have to do is click the button. Who doesn’t want to see their childhood friends, their favorite celebrities, the latest news? The double-edged sword of examining other people’s lives is, they can explore yours just as quickly.

The concept of data seems so impersonal, like the Borg who are nothing but parts of a whole, a ‘collective.’ We, like them, often view data as no more than just 1’s and 0’s, something to be acquired and disposed of once used. People forget that data is just another word for information and that there’s real-world consequence to be being ‘assimilated’.

In reality, data can often have an incredibly personal connection to us, particularly information shared over social media. The unspoken truth is once your information is let loose in the wild, you most likely no longer have any control who sees it, who copies it, and ultimately how they decide to use it.

The Internet lives forever and delete doesn’t mean what it once did. With a quick ride in the Internet Wayback Machine, I find my digital footprints...and pause. I can only imagine what images and content people will find of themselves 20 years from now. And I know I sound a like a grandpa, how willingly they share all aspects of their lives at the push of a button.

A quick search on myself found content I had written in 2001. That’s 17 years ago. Do you remember what the Internet was like in 2001? I mean, Netscape Navigator, 56k Baud Modems and even AOL Online are long gone, yet the Internet and the information it collected back then, lives on; and it’s only gotten more entwined in our lives.

While it’s not possible to go into full detail here, the majority of social media provides privacy options. Any popular social media platform should allow you the ability to opt out and control your privacy preferences. If they don’t, then I advise you to find another.

They should allow the following basic options:

  • Public - Everyone can see
  • Friends - Only ‘friends’
  • Custom - Specifically choose who can or can’t see
  • Only Me - Just you

And of course, within those options are additional settings to tweak your preferences, but more often than not, you’ll have to look for them. Remember the main goal of social media is to collect as much information about you as possible and share it. If you want privacy, you will have to restrict access yourself, as the default is ‘Public’, and that means everyone.

A few more things to consider:

  • Many social media platforms include geolocation. This means people can find out where you live or even figure it out from your photos which may include date, place and time tags embedded in them. Make sure to check your settings.
  • Make sure you communicate with your friends and develop a privacy policy which supports your wishes. Your friends may inadvertently allow others access to your information, due to their more relaxed settings.

If you take nothing else away from this Data Privacy Day posting, take this: Nothing on the Internet is ever really private. Assume that, sooner rather than later, whatever you post will be seen. Make sure; it’s something you can afford to have others see.

If you’re interested in allowing KT Connections to support your desire to secure your network, complete the form on the right or give us a call at 605-341-3873. We’ll be glad to speak with you about your concerns.