In today’s digital world we are so addicted to use our electronic devices and gadgets that we use them for almost everything to ease our lives. While we transact and communicate online across the world, today the data privacy has become a major concern. Lets check below.
Are you addicted to connecting with friends online and playing games on social media that analyze your personality? Do you love to browse through e-commerce websites and are surprised to see related ads popping up on your social media news feed and phone browser?
Ever wondered why these ads make it to your social media feed so soon? Here’s the thing, in the digital world, you are being watched all the time. Whether you like it or not, your online activities are being tracked. But, are there ways to safeguard your privacy? As the world observes Data Privacy Day on January 28, we talk to experts and find ways to limit your digital footprint and protect it from being misused.
Here is what you have given access to when you have clicked on allow after you have downloaded an app on your phone:
86% – Can write to your external storage
75% – Have your exact location
66% – Have access to your phone member
58% – Have access to your camera
40% – Can read your contacts
33% – Have access to your microphone
29% – Can read your message
THERE ARE WAYS TO KEEP YOUR DATA PRIVATE
Cross-check third-party apps before downloading them on your phone
The first step to ensure a safe browsing experience is to be wary of what to download and what not to. “Downloading unknown apps and taKing quirky psychological tests on social media puts your personal information at risk. People take random quizzes to find out how rich they’ll be when they are older or how they’ll look at a certain age.
These tests serve as a psychological record of you for social media companies, an independent researcher on data and cyber security A digital security expert from Delhi says, “Malicious apps downloaded on your phone can access your messages and can read your one time passwords (OTPs) too. Even though the digital era makes life convenient, the privacy of your data depends on how you use these apps.” He adds, “It is a trade-off for the convenience you enjoy by using these apps.”
Even trusted apps, that have a million downloads to their credit, ask for permissions that they do not need. “For instance, there are photo editing apps and e-commerce related äpps that ask for permission to view contacts and messages. One must always question why an app needs certain permission, does it really require access to your messages and contact list to function? It is advisable to avoid downloading apps that ask for too much access.
LOOK FOR OPEN-SOURCE ALTERNATIVE
Open-source software not only provides a better browsing experience but you are also deemed to be safer, state experts. “It makes sense to find an open-source alternative to major software systems, as they address legal and ethical issues from a consumer’s perspective, winch makes them safer and easy to use. One can search for these alternatives online.
DON’T USE SAME PASSWORD FOR ALL YOUR ACCOUNT
If you have resorted to using the same login ID and password for all your accounts in our effort to remember them easily, you are putting our personal information at risk. In case of a security breach on even one your accounts, a hacker can access your other accounts and steal data.
SAY NO TO FREE WI-FI AND RANDOM EMAILS THAT PROMISE FORTUNES
Even if you do not need to use wi-fi, say at a cafe or another unknown location, avoid logging on to your personal online banding websites, personal emails or utility-based apps when you are using a network that you are not familiar with. Unsecured networks may put vital information at risk. Be extra wary if a network provides you an offer that i too good to be true.
LOOK FOR PRIVACY ADD-ONS ON YOUR WEB BROWSER
As browsing tracks all your information and maintains a specific record of internet user, experts advise using privacy add-ons and extensions that can block access from other online software. Privacy extensions and add-ons not only protect us from attacks by hackers but also block ads that show up while browsing. Several privacy add-ons block trackers too.
BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD A NEW APP ON YOUR PHONE
• Avoid using an unknown free app, especially one that has very few downloads.
• Always read the reviews for an app before downloading it.
• Find out the origin of the ‘app. IVs important to know where it was developed. Free apps designed in countries that have earlier been In the news for data theft should anyway raise an alarm.
• Don’t install any app through links received in your email or SMS that also offer prize money. Clicking those links often exposes you to malicious malware and can gain access to your system.
• Be alert while downloading apps. For example, a gaming app shouldn’t ask for your location. Finance-related apps shouldn’t ask for, access to your camera. Be mindful of the permissions you give.
• Declutter your phone by removing apps that you don’t use on a regular basis.
• Install apps from official app stores.
• Use the right browsers or VPN.
• Turn off location services when not required twit you don’t want your phone to save or track your timeline.
PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT
The most critical type of data is your Personally Identifiable Information (P11) — which includes your IDs such as driving license, passport, transmittal ID number, PAN Card, Aadhar, Credit Account Numbers, etc. Not just ID numbers, but anything that can help identify you — such as your fingerprint, retina scan details, phone number, and your address, needs to be safe.
It is essential to keep this information private and protected in order to prevent identity theft. This occurs when someone gains access to your personal information and pretends to be you. This can have a long-lasting impact on your online reputation and digital privacy. Also, keep your social media connections limited to friends. Be wary of whom you add as a friend on your social media accounts. Share only relevant information whenever you sign up on any online platform.
With the government pushing for a digital India, one would wonder how safe the common man is in all this. The fundamental problem has to do with how the industry works. Our Aadhar data is being leaked to third parties, we need to understand that businesses run on personal data. Data is being used to micro-target ads and create propaganda.
No number of laws can fix this unless citizens act on this issue. The Supreme Court upholds the Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right and consumers can always take people to court if they feel that their privacy is being tampered with.