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How consumers keep their data safe- Data Privacy Day comments from Arxan

January 2020 by Chad McDonald, VP of Customer Experience at Arxan

The comment by Chad McDonald, VP of Customer Experience at Arxan on how consumers can keep their data safe online, ahead of Data Privacy Day tomorrow: “In order to create awareness around the importance of data privacy, we need to consider what businesses and consumers alike can do to better their privacy and avoid their data being leaked.

With the news reporting data breaches from different organisations daily, it’s important consumers take measures to ensure they are doing all they can to avoid the same thing happening to their data. Consumers should be more aware than ever, and businesses need to understand that once they gain the trust from their customers to store their data correctly, measures should be put in place to ensure this data is protected.

The first thing consumers need to do is treat their personal information as currency, because the bad guys certainly do. This is not understood by many people but personal information has monetary value so they need to protect it as they would their wallet. Not all organisations are trustworthy so it’s important not to trust that every business will keep data safe or assume that information is encrypted. Clear text storage of data whether personal or not is alive and well. It’s cheap and easy and will be a pervasive problem so it’s always good to validate how information is stored.

Consumers need to know their rights. They own their information so it’s therefore their responsibility to know who they share it with and how they use it. It should never be assumed that personal data won’t be sold. Many vendors with whom we share data have downstream data sharing and sale agreements with other data aggregators. The further someone get from their initial share, the harder it is for them to maintain control of their personal information. Read privacy statements and be wary of those who will share personal data. If there’s the option of refusing to share data, choose it. With that said, it is important not to leave a trail of breadcrumbs. Consumers should request deletion of old accounts, of personal information and anything that may be leveraged to piece together someone’s digital identity. Innocuous pieces of information can in many cases be aggregated to provide some scary details.”

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