So Why Is Data Privacy Week So Important?

A special guest blog from Gordon our Webmaster.


Today might seem like just another day. You might have woken up feeling refreshed. Climbed out of bed and gotten dressed. Brushed your teeth… 

That smart toothbrush is really great, it even sends you motivational notifications, congratulating you on brushing first thing in the morning. 

Your bathroom scale creates great little graphs showing you how well you are achieving your goals, be that muscle mass, weight loss, or maintaining a healthy weight.

Your smartwatch beeps. You got exactly six hours and 26 minutes of sleep last night – a little short of the eight-hour target recommended to you. 

You go downstairs… That new smoothie recipe you saw on social media looked really good, maybe you should try it this morning? You flick open your phone and open up the app. The first thing to pop up on the screen asks “Is your pillow too soft? Try our new ergonomic pillow. It will help you get your eight hours sleep tonight”. Scrolling down, there are some smoothies to help you maintain your ideal BMI.

With so many of the things we use on a day-to-day basis connected to the internet do you really know how the data generated is being used? Everywhere you look data is being generated about you. From your phone to your car, even to your central heating system. Data privacy may seem like it is only something that businesses should care about. There is a lot of information for businesses on keeping data safe, with standards like ISO27001. However, it is often overlooked in our personal lives. Almost every website you visit has a cookie policy. GDPR governs how companies can use your data but how many times have you actually looked at the policy, and do you actually know where the information is being used?

So what can we do?

There are many ways you can ensure that you can start to take control of your data, taking opportunities away from companies and malicious individuals who would use your data against you. Check your privacy settings on the websites you use often and ensure you are happy with the information they gather on you.

A lot of information can be gathered through your connected devices, and a lot of the largest data mining companies can use your IP address to identify a lot more information than is immediately obvious. For instance, when you connect to a wifi network your IP address will be the same as every other device connected to the same network, so if one device on the network is reporting its location via a GPS signal then the approximate location of everyone else on that network can be assumed to be nearby. VPNs are a powerful tool to avoid this sort of information becoming available to a website.

Another issue for many people is password security. An interesting check can be done on your accounts by using a website called https://haveibeenpwned.com/ You can enter your email addresses or phone numbers to see if your password has been published by criminals in many data breaches from well-known websites. 

Password reuse is a very common thing to do with the many accounts held by most people these days on the internet. A great tool for this is a password manager. This allows you to save a different, very secure password for each website that you use, while only having to actually remember the one password to get into the password manager. As long as you trust the vendor of the password manager you choose, of course.

This is such a crucial issue in our busy and connected world. However, it is often overlooked and many people don’t even consider the amount of data they are sharing unknowingly online. Following these tips can go a long way to ensuring that you are in control of your information and allowing you to relax, knowing that you have the tools to keep your data safe. A regular check-in with your data privacy settings may seem like an unnecessary task however it can definitely help you live more harmoniously in our busy connected world.