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Data Privacy Week: Time to Take Control of Your Data


he staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Data Privacy Week is a global effort to empower individuals and encourage organizations to respect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust. Every year, the National Security Alliance dedicates a week to recognizing the importance of data privacy and being informed about how information is used, collected, or shared in our digital culture. This year’s theme is to “take control of your data.” Online activity produces a wealth of data, which is collected by websites, apps, devices, services, and organizations all around the world. Although we cannot control every piece of information collected, users still have a right to data privacy.

Data privacy is a fundamental aspect of our online existence. In our interconnected world, sensitive information flows through digital channels. Data passes through and resides on email services, social media platforms, online services and retailers, mobile payment apps, search engines, cloud services, fitness trackers and wearables, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, virtual assistants and voice-activated devices, subscription boxes and services, car infotainment systems, online learning platforms, public Wi-Fi networks, mental health apps, home DNA testing kits, online gaming platforms, ride-sharing apps, and more.

Additionally, with the increasing prevalence of online activity and data-driven technology, understanding and safeguarding personal information is more critical than ever. Cybersecurity threats, including ransomware attacks and phishing schemes, are rising. As a result, sensitive information may be compromised and exposed. Furthermore, the integration of emerging technologies introduces new challenges to data privacy. For example, using big data and analytics raises concerns about the extensive profiling of individuals. Facial recognition technology, while innovative, has sparked debates over its implications for personal privacy. Striking a balance between technological advancement and privacy protection remains a pressing concern.

As technology continues to advance, the landscape of data privacy will evolve. Anticipating future trends and challenges, such as the increasing use of artificial intelligence in cyberattacks, is essential for staying ahead of the curve. Proactive measures and continuous adaptation to emerging threats will be vital in shaping the future of data privacy.

The NJCCIC recommends organizations and users take actionable steps to keep data safe year-round in the ever-evolving digital landscape. We advise the adoption of cybersecurity best practices, such as using strong, unique passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA), regularly keeping systems up to date, encrypting sensitive data, and using a virtual private network (VPN). Additionally, regularly review privacy settings for accounts and devices, maintain awareness of what apps you have installed and only grant appropriate permissions, be cautious with personal information, and reduce your digital footprint . Furthermore, organizations are advised to develop and enforce robust data protection policies, conduct cybersecurity training for employees, and provide transparency about data collection practices.

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