Data Privacy: What is it?

Data Privacy: What is it?

If you do a quick google search of data privacy in the news you will get millions of results.  As you can see there is a lot of talk of data privacy in the news. As our lives are increasely moving online which means data privacy is a topic that everyone should know.  

So what is data privacy and what does that mean for me.   Why should I be worried about it? 

What is data privacy?

Data privacy is really about what happens to YOUR data and how is it kept safe.  What you do on the internet whether it is filling out a from or what you do on the internet is all being TRACKED, stored and used.  All this data can used to identified who you are and what you are doing.  This can is then used to help companies know you better so they can assist you or market to you. 

You can think of it like someone is following where you go and seeing what you do.  Now image you that person is then telling other people about what they have observed.  Kind of creepy when you think about it.  Data privacy is understanding what they are observing, why they are observing and who they are telling. 

Companies and organization disclose what they are doing with the information you are giving them via a privacy notice. This notice is suppose to tell you what they are collecting, what they are going to do with what they collected and how long they are going to keep the data. 

Governments are creating data privacy regulation to give you some control of your data. Some of the major regulations are General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations allow you to know what is collected, update information that is collected and ask to be removed. 

Now that we have an idea of what data privacy is, we need to start to understand how your data in being collected.

How is my data collected

Data is collected in lots of different ways.  A few of the major collection activities are:

  • Direct User Input – You are directly giving organization your data when you are asked to fill out information.      
  • Surveillance – Everything you do on the web is being tracked.  The sites you visit and how long you stay on each page is all being logged.

What should I know

The major theme of the various privacy regulation is about informing you about what information is being collected and how it is being used.  This allows you to better understand how a company is using your information and decide whether you want them to have it. The challenge is the privacy notices that are used to inform you are often confusing and full of legal jargon.   

These regulations are a start, but it is up to you to stay informed and think about your privacy.  Always remember everything is being tracked. 

There are ways to reduce how much information is being collected. I will go into more detail in other blog posts.