The internet makes our lives more convenient but also brings about new threats that we need to be on the lookout for.
Every year, up to 10% of Americans fall for a scam, which often leads to the exposure of their personal data, according to Legaljobs.
Identity theft also affects around 1.4 million Americans yearly, leading to a loss of approximately $5.8 billion. Staying safe on the internet means knowing what privacy data is and how to help protect your personal information.
In this blog, we will take a closer look at what privacy data is and share details about how you can keep yourself safe.
We also consider privacy laws to ensure you understand your rights.
What Is Privacy Data?
We should first consider what privacy data is before we dive deeper into the topic. This will help you understand what data is private and what you can consider public information.
Privacy data generally refers to confidential information related to either yourself or a business you own. Several elements make up privacy data, each of which plays a vital role in your identity.
Your identity or social security number is one of the most important privacy data elements. This number represents your identity according to your birth certificate within the local government in your state and throughout the United States.
A passport number and driver’s license code are also considered to be private data.
When it comes to your name and surname, things get complicated. These are generally not considered privacy data, but when coupled with an element like your identity document, it becomes private.
Other types of data that you should consider private include:
- Your bank account number and card details
- Credit card details
- Login information for online accounts you have
- Your address and phone numbers
- Information related to your credit record
Why Is Data Privacy Important?
If you have never been affected by a scam or issue such as identity theft, then you may not yet fully comprehend the important role that data privacy plays. Data privacy refers to keeping the information that we discussed in the previous section safe and confidential.
It also refers to the ability to protect this type of information to ensure cybercriminals do not get their hands on your personal data – which could lead to serious damage and losses. For example, when you do not effectively protect your data, elements like your credit card details or even your social security number might be exposed to criminals lurking on the internet.
Upon acquiring this data, these criminals may use your credit card details to transfer funds from your account to an unknown account – where they can access the transferred funds on their side. These funds are often lost on your side and considered unrecoverable.
Additionally, data privacy helps to protect details like where you live and your contact numbers. These are details that criminals can potentially use to target you in real life, instead of using a digital approach when they want to perform criminal activities.
What Are the Data Privacy Laws in The U.S.?
Most countries have implemented laws related to data privacy for citizens in the digital space. The United States has also implemented a few laws and regulations related to digital data.
The data privacy laws in the United States differ slightly from other countries. For example, some countries may use a singular set of data protection regulations, whereas the United States decided to divide the data protection law into multiple categories.
This has brought on the announcement of several data collection and access regulations that companies need to follow to protect citizens against hacking and identity theft.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific data privacy laws that have been implemented in the U.S.:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): While it does not fully revolve around privacy, this act was implemented to regulate communication between patients and entities in the medical industry.
This law helps to protect data that a patient shares with a doctor, nurse, or health insurance provider. It does not, however, protect data recorded by smart watches and other wearable trackers in terms of an online privacy protection act.
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): The GLBA regulation was introduced to better understand how the information provided during credit applications is handled. The act demands that financial institutes ensure customers are fully aware of how they will use the personal information the consumer provides when they open an application.
- Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA): This act generally restricts the surveillance of electronic communication methods. It provides details on what is and is not allowed when employers monitor employee communication.
It also restricts the government from wiretapping phone calls and emails.
- Protection Act COPPA: This protection act was implemented with a sole focus on children. It is also known as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and demands certain restrictions be enforced when collecting data among children younger than 13.
The Children’s General Data Protection Regulation GDPR helps to prevent putting kids in danger.
- Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA): The California Consumer Privacy Act regulates how certain companies, including websites, may process a consumer’s data. It also states that companies need to provide transparent information about how they will use any data that they collect from a consumer.
The U.S. also makes regular changes to these laws to ensure that personally identifiable information (PII) related to consumers is safe.
Tips To Keep Your Data Secure
When your user data is leaked, it may result in serious complications. This is why you should ensure you take the appropriate measures to effectively protect your data.
Protecting your data can help prevent an unauthorized user from gaining access to your credit card details, bank account information, and other data that could result in cybercriminal activities and loss.
Start by considering how and where you keep your sensitive data. For example, do not upload any private or confidential details, including photos, to publicly accessible websites.
When you add this type of data to cloud storage, ensure your account is protected with more than just a password. You should also try to set up two-factor authentication for other accounts – such as your bank login, cryptocurrency platforms, and platforms where you have your personal information stored.
The main idea here is to ensure you understand fully how they will store and use the data you enter.
Apart from these strategies, another great way to keep your data protected is to use an identity theft protection service. This service can help keep an eye out for your personal information.
Should the service detect any personal information about you being publicly available, it will inform you immediately, along with details on the best actions you can take. These services often come with multiple plans to ensure they fit your budget and needs.
Data Privacy Day
January 28 was established as national data privacy day. However, before the initiation of this special day, the signing of a treaty to protect personal data in 1981 occurred.
This was the very first international treaty that was signed. As the digital age evolved, in 2006, the Council of Europe declared a Data Protection Day. Later, Data Protection Day was also initiated by the same council.
At this time, Data Protection Day was only something known to Europeans. Since 2008, however, the United States has also taken an interest in this occurrence.
It wasn’t until 2014, however, when congress adopted Senate Resolution 33, that National Data Privacy Day was announced in the United States.
Data Privacy Day provides the average person with information about their private data. The goal of this day is to spread awareness of the risks that come with inefficient protection methods implemented to protect consumers’ private data.
The day also focuses on businesses and shares important data regarding how businesses can protect their private information.
In the digital age, we find ourselves in today, it is important to ensure you implement steps to help protect your private data. Unfortunately, many people do not have the appropriate steps to ensure they can keep their private user data protected.
The tips we shared in this article will help you avoid a data breach and reduce the risk of cybercriminals gaining access control to your private data and accounts.