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Data Privacy Day: Own Your Privacy, Part 1- Personal Information

By Security Features • January 27, 2021

The theme for Data Privacy Day 2021 is “Own Your Privacy.” Surveys and industry reports show that many of us feel an increasing lack of control over our own data. Despite this perception, tactics still exist that each of us can use to learn about the types of data you’re generating online, and how it’s collected, shared and used. The NCSA has laid out ways the “Own Your Privacy” concept can be worked into both personal and work lives.  Today we discuss Data Privacy at Home.

Personal Information: What Is It and How to Protect It

Think carefully about what personal information you give out through apps and websites


The Oil of the Digital Era

Modern businesses rely on collecting, organizing, and analyzing ever-greater volumes of data, frequently from multiple different sources.

The most obvious examples are companies like Google and Facebook, who process not only data that users directly input on their sites, but also user IP addresses, location data, device data, data from third parties and more. These corporate behemoths are just two of thousands of companies that make their money off consumer information.

Now, consumers are demanding accountability from the organizations that collect and process this copious personal information.

That makes understanding the significance of personal information and what gets done with it more important than ever.

What Is Personal Information?

The legal definition of “Personal information (PI)” (also referred to as “Personal Data” and “Personally Identifiable Information”) varies slightly in different countries.

At its core, PI is simply any information that relates to an identified or identifiable person. What varies country to country, or even in the U.S. by state to state, is which specific PI legally qualifies for data protection.

PI includes typical data like names, address/email addresses, phone numbers, and many other identifiers. Some kinds of PI are deemed sensitive. According to the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), sensitive data includes information for which the subject has a “reasonable expectation of privacy, such as medical or financial information.”

Why Is it Important to Protect Personal Information?

There are many reasons. As already noted, some laws require it.

Beyond that, almost everyone has come to expect it. With the number of data privacy scandals making headlines, consumers are more sensitive about use of their personal information. This leads to confusion and concern about just how businesses are using it. While societal attitudes about the right to privacy vary by culture, people inherently know when something violates their boundaries. No one likes “creepy” behavior or feeling stalked. So, businesses will benefit from actively protecting their customers’ information and their privacy.

Security is another important reason. The compromise of secure information is a “lose-lose” for everyone involved. Customers and even employees whose data is compromised or stolen by cybercriminals are subject to identity theft, monetary theft, fraud, public embarrassment, and other harms.

Customers can feel frustrated or even betrayed. The employee whose actions caused the breach feels embarrassed. They could even lose their job. And businesses who are found negligent in their efforts to protect customer data can face significant penalties and market backlash.

Remember that trust, reputation, loyalty, brand value, and individuals’ rights and freedoms are at stake when it comes to appropriately handling sensitive data.


For more information regarding Data Privacy Day visit Media Pro Cybersecurity & Privacy Education and join the Data Privacy Day live web conference on Thursday, Jan. 28, from 9-12 PT