Big Data: The White House Is Thinking about It -- You Should Too.

The White House recently released a report on big data. While it was highly anticipated by people who closely follow data privacy issues, chances are that it wasn't on the radar of most individuals.  Even so, we believe it is an issue that everybody should start thinking about.  

Why is big data a significant privacy challenge?

As technology advances so does the ability to collect, combine, and analyze data.  This is relevant to individuals because, as the report states, "the volume of information that people create themselves…pales in comparison to the amount of digital information created about them each day."

Individuals often aren’t aware when information about them is collected and used. They may not know who has data associated with them, who that data may be shared with, and whether there are any choices or protections in place (in many instances there are not).

In addition, it is difficult to predict how this information may be used in a way that impacts someone’s life – for better or worse.

Get Your Digital House In Order!

Now is a good time to take a moment to make sure you are doing what you can to help minimize data privacy and security risks with regard to your digital accounts.  

1.  Take inventory of your online accounts.  Make a list all of the online accounts you have, and determine which ones you no longer use or need.  This may include old email accounts, social media accounts, financial and banking accounts, shopping accounts that retain your credit card information, accounts containing personal health information, and others.  

2.  Examine your password practices. Do you use the same passwords for multiple accounts containing sensitive information?  Do you use common words or phrases as passwords? If the answer to either of those is yes, create a new strategy and change your passwords.  This could involve using a password manager, enabling multi-factor authentication (which we highly recommend), or (at minimum) changing and strengthening your passwords.

PRC Celebrates National Consumer Protection Week

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is celebrating National Consumer Protection Week March 1-7, 2015. Visit ncpw.gov to find out more and get involved! Make sure to check out our daily tips March 1st through the 7th on our front page. We will provide you some simple tips to keep your “privacy health" in check! 

Saturday Tip:

Tax ID Fraud is on the rise, make sure to file early and do not re-use passwords, make them unique if you file online! https://www.privacyrights.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-identity-theft

 


Friday Tip:

Use multifactor authentication for your online accounts when you can. Learn more: https://www.privacyrights.org/content/passwords-arent-enough-why-you-should-consider-using-two-factor-authentication #security #NCPW2015

Thursday Tip:

When signing up for a social network, don’t share your complete date of birth, age, or place of birth. This information could be useful to identity thieves and to data mining companies.  https://www.privacyrights.org/social-networking-privacy-how-be-safe-secure-and-social#tips

Wednesday Tip:

Understand the value of identity theft monitoring services and free or at low cost alternatives.  Read our guide at https://www.privacyrights.org/identity-theft-monitoring-services

Tuesday Tip:

Are you making sure to protect your privacy before you dispose of or donate your old smartphone? Here are some tips on what to do before it is too late http://www.cnet.com/news/what-to-do-before-selling-or-donating-your-phone/.  Check out our checklist of responsible information-handling practices https://www.privacyrights.org/checklist-responsible-information-handling-practices

Monday Tip:

Why you should protect your smartphone/tablet just like you would your computer http://www.cnet.com/videos/keep-your-android-device-safe-from-malware/. Understand privacy in the age of the smartphone/tablet https://www.privacyrights.org/smartphone-cell%20phone-privacy

Sunday Tip

Don’t pay with a debit card. Learn why at https://www.privacyrights.org/merchant-retail-payment-methods-credit-card-vs-debit-card#2.

Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories

For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft has topped the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) national ranking of consumer complaints.  Identity theft represented 13% of all complaints in 2014 according to the FTC's 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.  Identity theft has held the FTC’s No. 1 spot for 15 years.  The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database provides law enforcement officials across the country with access to consumer complaints in their jurisdictions.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s March 2015 Identity Fraud Study, fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers last year.  The study found that two-thirds of identity fraud victims in 2014 had previously received a data breach notification in the same year.

Tax Season Fraud Prevention Tips

Tax season is here, and with it come scammers and identity thieves hoping to profit.  Here are Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s (PRC) top tips and resources to help you protect your privacy, your money, and your identity.  

Reduce the risk of your mail falling into the wrong hands. You should take steps to protect sensitive information year round, but during tax season you will likely receive a number of “information returns” containing sensitive information such as your Social Security number.

Organized Sports and Privacy

Organized sports are a great way to keep kids engaged, teach them new skills, and provide them with an opportunity to socialize with other kids.  Privacy isn’t likely to be top of mind when you enroll your kids in sports, but it is important to note that leagues often gather a tremendous amount of personal and potentially sensitive information pertaining to your child and even you.  If it isn’t handled properly, there is an increased risk that the information could be compromised and even lead to identity theft or financial fraud.

Giving Tuesday

giving tues logo

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse appreciates your ongoing support and generosity. Each donation to our organization, however small, contributes directly to our growing privacy education resources and helps us to broaden the community we serve.

This year, on Tuesday, December 1st, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse will be participating in Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Giving Tuesday is a worldwide movement and an opportunity for everyone to give back to their community by showing support for the nonprofit organizations they care about.

Protecting Your Privacy While Holiday Shopping

With the holiday shopping season upon us, stores and malls will probably be busier. Shoppers may need to deal with frantic conditions and are more likely to let their guard down than during other times of the year.  Scam artists and fraudsters know this, so they will be waiting for you to be forgetful or make a mistake.  Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wants you to know how you can help protect your privacy while shopping.

Keeping Your Children Safe While They’re Online

There are many applications that our children use to talk to their friends, gather information and express themselves.  As parents, we want the Internet to be a safe and enjoyable experience for our children and teens. But we may not know all the resources available to us to make that happen. Below are some basic privacy tips and useful resources.

Teens are the most vulnerable due to the amount of time they spend online. According to a study by Pew Research, “92% of teens report going online daily including 24% who say they go online ‘almost constantly’. More than half (56%) of teens, defined in this report as those ages 13-17, go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often.”

Here are a few tips to keep your kids and their information safe while online.

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