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Data Privacy Day 2016: Value Your Personal Information

Dr. Andy Ozment
Assistant Secretary, Cybersecurity and Communications

Data Privacy Day is an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.

In today’s connected world, we’re sharing more personal information online than ever before. And it’s not only when we’re sitting at our computers: we use our mobile devices to shop, bank, conduct business, and connect with loved ones. These activities often require us to provide personal information such as our name, email address, credit card information, and other sensitive details online. But when this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be exploited and used to steal your identity and your money. As sharing personal information online becomes commonplace, it is increasingly critical to take steps to protect your personal data and privacy.

Protecting your personal information can appear to be a daunting task, but there are simple steps all Americans can take to protect themselves and their privacy online. Start with these tips from the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign, the Department of Homeland Security’s national cybersecurity awareness campaign.

  • Secure your devices. Take advantage of screen locks, passwords, and fingerprint recognition capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Set strong passwords. Make your passwords complex and change them regularly.
  • Own your digital life. Think carefully about what you post online. Everything you put on the internet – photos, tweets, and blogs – will be out there people to see forever. Take ownership of your digital life by only posting what you want to be seen.
  • Customize the settings on your accounts and apps. Many accounts and apps include default settings that encourage users to share more types of information. Check your account settings to ensure that your information is only visible to people whom you authorize.
  • Think before you act. Be wary of communications that, offer something that sounds too good to be true, ask for personal information, or suggest you click on links or open attachments. Such communications may contain malware or redirect you to potentially malicious websites.

On Data Privacy Day and throughout the year, we encourage all Americans to weigh the benefits and risks of sharing information online, to understand how their information is being used, and to take steps to protect their identities and personal data.

For more information on how to get involved with and promote Data Privacy Day, visit www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day.

For more information on how to stay safe online, visit Stop.Think.Connect.

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