This past Wednesday was national data privacy day, created by congress in 2009 to help raise awareness of need to protect personal information and data.
While it seems laughable that the same government that espouses the need to protect our data is the same body that brings us Edward Snowden-esque allegations of widespread data infiltration of its citizens by same said government; I think there is a point here worth noting…
At the risk of stating the obvious; protecting your information and identity, whether online or otherwise, IS important.
But it is also YOUR data, and therefore YOUR responsibility. Which is good because we are largely on our own. Being freeing is, in a lot of ways, freeing; we aren’t going deluded ourselves that something is happening when it’s not. (What do you mean I’m denied medical coverage?! That’s why I pay for insurance!)
Having spent a considerable amount of time in the EU, one of the things they do is take the protection and privacy seriously, the EU’s Data Protection Directive requires substantial disclosure of the use of collected personal information and levies heavy fines to those commercial enterprises that violate the directive.
The U.S. has no commensurate directive or legislation. So it becomes our responsibility to ensure our own protection.
I mentioned around Christmas time that I would be sending out ‘bite sized’ tips on protecting your information. Some of them are so obvious they seem ludicrous to even mention, but having been in my position for as long as I have (and two Masters degrees in information security), I find that 99% of protecting your information is about good personal practices (when was the last time you changed your passwords, and do you use the same or similar passwords for your banking information as you do for Amazon?)
I rest my case.