Data Privacy Day: Safeguard Your Information

January 27, 2014

Many people – young and old – share information via the Internet with family, friends and acquaintances as well as with companies that run websites, social networking sites and mobile applications. Sometimes this sharing of information is deliberate, but other times people are unaware of how much, or what type, of information they agreed to share.

To commemorate National Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28, Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming encourages everyone to take a step back and look at their “digital footprint.” How much information are you sharing on social media? Do you know what information mobile device apps can access? Is the information you make available enough to allow someone to gain access to your accounts or steal your identity?

Data Privacy Day is an annual awareness day observed all over the world to encourage everyone to protect their personal information. In the United States, Data Privacy Day is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign’s co-leader.

Americans are becoming more aware of the privacy implications of being online. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 86 percent of Internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints – ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email.

To help secure your online information, BBB and the Department of Homeland Security offer the following tips:

  • Secure devices. Keep your devices from prying eyes. Set passcodes or pass phrases (long passwords) to be sure only you can access your smartphone, tablet or PC.

  • Secure accounts. Passwords are no longer the only protection from would-be hackers. When possible, enable two-factor authentication to add another layer of security. Some sites, such as Google, allow you to opt-in to two-factor authentication, which means you need both your password, and a passcode sent via text or email, to log into an account.

  • Make passwords long, strong and unique. Passwords should be different for each account, have as many characters as allowed and include numbers, symbols and letters, capital and lowercase.

  • Think before you app. Before downloading a mobile app, understand what information (such as your location, access to social networks, etc.) the app accesses.

  • Back it up. Store digital copies of your valuable work, music, photos and other information on an external hard drive or trusted online service.

Start With Trust. For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit For more consumer tips and information, visit