Iowa’s Data Privacy Day Empowers and Educates Individuals to Protect their Privacy

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The Privacy Professor® shares tips to control your digital footprint.

Gov. Terry Branstad has proclaimed Tuesday, January 28, 2014, as the fifth annual Data Privacy Day in the state of Iowa to coincide with International Data Privacy Day. This day marks an important opportunity to encourage Iowans to be aware of data privacy concerns in today’s digital society and to take steps to protect personal information.

Des Moines-based and internationally recognized as The Privacy Professor, Rebecca Herold believes Iowa’s Data Privacy Day will inspire individuals and businesses to take privacy seriously and execute actions to preserve it.

“Data Privacy Day is the perfect time to think about all the computing devices and gadgets you use, including smartphones and tablets,” said Herold, an information security and privacy expert. “Many people don’t realize these devices are continually collecting personal information about the user, such as where you work or attend school, travel, shop … the list goes on. Everyone should be aware of the information they are putting out there and the data being collected without their knowledge or consent.

“As we embark on 2014, we truly are in a new and expanding ‘Internet of Things’ where numerous amounts of data are being collected every day. All individuals, businesses and government organizations should make privacy a priority by being educated about new, expanding data collection points and put appropriate protections in place to protect personal information,” added Herold.

Herold encourages all consumers to ensure they aren’t giving away too much information when their personal data is collected, and she believes they have the right to demand that the entities collecting their information are protecting it and using it properly.

2014 Privacy Data Day Tips from The Privacy Professor
In advance of the fifth annual Privacy Data Day, Herold is sharing these three action items to protect the privacy of consumers and businesses from the data collected within the ‘Internet of Things.’

1) Nothing is truly free, including mobile apps. Be aware of the personal information you provide mobile app providers. Today, the federal government doesn’t govern the security and privacy of mobile apps. Thus, many free apps sell your information to a wide range of companies, some of which may have malicious intents. The recent Snapchat security breach is an example of how a mobile app developer approaches privacy after it was hacked and users’ information was stolen and published. Consumers must be careful of the information shared on mobile apps and demand these developers setup stronger security and privacy provisions to protect their users. In the meantime, be wary of mobile apps, especially ones that are new to the marketplace.

2) Be cautious with new “smart” devices. A wide range of new and unique gadgets — from socks and tooth brushes, to glasses to watches to smart cars — connect you directly to other entities (and even to the Internet) to share information about your activities, location and personal characteristics. Before using such devices, make sure you know which data they are collecting, how it will be used and with whom it will be shared. One very important tip is to be sure you can turn off data sharing. Some of these devices begin collecting data continuously from the time you start using them and cannot be turned off. Watch for these circumstances, so you can avoid them.

3) Only share personal information with trusted sources. Personal information should only be shared when it supports the original purpose presented at the time it was collected. Be extra careful not to share more sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and driver’s license numbers. The entities asking for the information need to include information about the purpose in their service and product requirements. This is often also found in their posted privacy notices. If they don’t have a posted privacy notice, users should steer clear of them. Consumers should also ask the entities with whom they share their data about the choices they have in how their personal information is used and shared.

Rebecca Herold is an Iowa-based information privacy, security and compliance expert, author and educator. Herold has provided services and products to organizations throughout the world in a wide range of industries for over two decades, and her Privacy Professor and Compliance Helper businesses have been her vehicles for the past 10 years. Rebecca is widely recognized and respected — she was named a Privacy by Design Ambassador, and she was declared the “3rd best privacy advisor in the world” by Computerworld.

To request an interview with Rebecca Herold about Data Privacy Day or tips on information security and privacy, please contact Rebecca Herold or Jill Haverkamp at the information above.

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Jill Haverkamp
KMC (for Rebecca Herold)
(515) 822-5082
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Rebecca Herold

(515) 491-1564
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