What is Data Privacy Day?

Now in its sixth year, Data Privacy Day is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy.

While it probably doesn’t register as an important day to most, I believe it is more important than ever.

Why does it matter?

According to the Online Trust Alliance, the alarming truth is that 2013 was the worst ever year for data breaches with over 740 million personal records exposed.

What’s even more regrettable is that 89% of these breaches could have been prevented – a clear sign that more awareness and education around data privacy is needed, not only for us as consumers, but for the companies to whom we entrust our data..

That’s why we’re pleased to announce our partnership with the Online Trust Alliance, one of the leading lights for better data practices. The OTA does the hard work of building consensus around a practical and detailed agenda for how companies can be better stewards of our data.

What can you do to protect your data?

Keeping tabs on your online data isn’t always easy. Websites can update their privacy policies and introduce new features meaning that it can be a hassle understanding how much we are sharing.

Luckily, there are a few simple steps that can help you keep closer control over your online data:

  • Download AVG PrivacyFix now:

AVG PrivacyFix is a free tool that helps put you in complete control of your online data.  From a single dashboard, you can control privacy settings across sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google.

  • Use strong passwords:

It’s a concern that as many as 76% of breaches in 2013 were put down to weak or stolen account credentials. Setting a strong password is one of the easiest things you can do to protect your data and identity online.

For more information on creating a strong password, read Tony Anscombe’s password tips post.

  • Get protection for your devices:

With 21% of all breaches coming from the loss of physical property (laptop, tablet, phone etc) the message that we should be protecting our devices has never been clearer.

Free security software like AVG AntiVirus for Android can help you lock, locate and even wipe your Android device should it get lost or stolen.

  • Check your app permissions:

All too often we install apps without fully understanding how much of our data they want to access. There are apps that want to share our location, access our contacts, photos and social stream.

All apps have to ask before they can use your data so be sure to check carefully what you are signing up for.

  • Activate Do Not Track:

Do Not Track is a user enabled option which opts out of being tracked by advertising and analytics trackers.

Once activated, you will have greater control over which cookies and trackers you allow and therefore over which companies can track your online activity.

There are several ways of activating Do Not Track including AVG Web TuneUp which is available to download for free.