Do Internet Privacy Laws Make Consumers and Their Data Safer?

Security and privacy have taken on new meaning in today’s digital world. It used to be enough to keep your private documents in a locked safe at home. But today, additional precautions are necessary to protect our personal and financial information.

Learn whether internet privacy laws will be enough to keep consumer data safe and additional steps you can take online to protect your privacy.

What is Security and Privacy in a Digital World?

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“The difference between privacy and security isn’t always easy to see,” explains Michelle Dennedy, Chief Executive Officer at DrumWave.

When it comes to protecting ourselves online, security refers to keeping our data secure and unreachable. Privacy refers to making sure people who do have access to our data aren’t privy to identifiable information.

Imagine all of your data being stored in a glass box. The stronger the glass, the safer and more secure your data is. Privacy refers to who can see and identify the data inside the box.

Data can be secure yet not private, and private but not secure. Finding a way to keep your data both secure and private isn’t easy. Luckily, legislation like the GDPR and CCPA is making it easier for consumers to protect their data.

What Type of Data Does the CCPA Protect?

Even with internet privacy laws like the GDPR and CCPA setting examples, current federal legislation doesn’t offer full security and privacy rights to Americans just yet. But we’re making tremendous progress under the CCPA, which gives California consumers the right to secure and privatize the following types of data.

  • Names
  • Post addresses
  • IP addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Records of purchased products or services
  • Biometric information
  • Browsing history
  • Geolocation data
  • Employment-related data

It’s important to remember that public information found in government documents, like marriage licenses and criminal records, are not protected by the CCPA.

Tips for Keeping Your Data Safe if You’re Not Covered by Internet Privacy Laws

Until federal laws are in place or more states pass internet privacy laws, the following  tips can help you  stay as secure and private as you can online.

Share information with extreme caution

Carelessly sharing information is like leaving your glass box open for anyone to access. Only share information marked as required when filling out forms or profiles. If there’s any doubt to the authenticity of a company, reach out through the company’s customer service number before sharing personal information.

While sharing your name or address with an online store might not put you in critical danger, use caution when sharing other certain types of information, like your social security number. Don’t be afraid to ask why a company needs it, how it will be used, how they will protect it, and if you can use a different kind of identification.

Encrypt your data

When you are sharing information with businesses online, make sure to guard your data with encryption software. This way, if someone is able to get into or see through your glass box, they won’t be able to decipher the enclosed data.

Use a password manager

If you use the same password for every online account you create, you’re putting yourself in extreme danger. If a business experiences a data leak and your password is exposed, hackers could find themselves with a universal key that gains access to your bank account, credit card accounts, or any other type of sensitive account. Use a password manager to create unique passwords for every account you have.

Check for privacy policies

Take a moment to review a website’s privacy policy, which should tell you how a site secures, protects, and uses collected information along with whether they sell it to third parties. If a company isn’t required to follow the regulations of the CCPA, they don’t have to provide a privacy policy. But one that does is certainly more committed to consumer data security and privacy.

Overall, Michelle says, “Understand what your data is, where it’s going, and who it’s going to.”

As a consumer not covered under the CCPA, don’t be afraid to question, research, and evaluate potential data collections before they take place. Knowledge will be your best weapon against data privacy and security until internet privacy laws like the CCPA become the norm instead of the exception.

Read up on the next article in the series about what’s the big deal with big data and privacy? or catch up on the previous issue about your privacy rights under the CCPA

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