Data Privacy Day - January 28

  • Published: Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022

In 2009, the US House of Representatives formally recognized Jan. 28 as National Data Privacy Day #DPD. Then, Congress took it further by declaring this day with Senate Resolution 33 in 2014. So what's the big deal?

Our digital lives often lead to negligence in how we treat our personal data. We share, sometimes too much, on social media. We fill out surveys online. We enter information into forms without much thought of how this information is stored and used.

Don't confuse data privacy with data security. Both are equally important in our online lives, but data security equates to locked doors where data privacy would by more like pulling the curtains shut to keep others from seeing what you are doing.

#DPD is a reminder to check privacy settings and evaluate the information that you are entering into online resources. Recognize the dangers of sharing and how that information is being used. Treat your personal data like money. Protect it. Don't leave it lying around. Should your sensitive information fall into the hands of cybercrooks, it becomes extremely valuable, and it can lead to financial loses, damage to your personal reputation and identity theft for the victim.

Check yourself for these key privacy protections:

  • Update your privacy settings. This means on social media, web browsers and any other online resources that tie directly to you.
  • Update your passwords. If you use the same password for everything, now is the time to change that practice. Use long, strong passwords/passphrases (at least 15 characters) and make them unique for each online account.
  • Keep your apps and operating systems patched. Don't give access to apps that want to get into your contacts, location or photos if this is not necessary to use the app.
  • Spread the word. Tell your family and friends about #DPD and encourage them to take steps to safeguard their personal information as well.

The Missouri Student Privacy Alliance (MOSPA) works with Missouri schools to assist with building a registry of resources where districts and vendors can come to an agreement with what student data is used, how it is used and secured. To learn more, visit our webpage or send a request for information to [email protected].

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Writer: Kathy Bellew