Keeping up with your privacy settings can be daunting. Think about all of the places where your privacy settings are stored: on e-commerce and social media sites, in email and Web browsers, on your mobile devices and in their apps—the list goes on. Social networks alone—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat for instance—all have their own privacy settings. How does anyone really keep up?
For those of us concerned with privacy, the attributes in your settings are based on what level of exposure, or risk, you are willing to accept. Privacy controls limit who can access your profile and what information they can ‘collect’ about you.
Many of us simply give up our privacy for convenience. The use of social media apps—like Facebook, which can be linked to other apps to allow for easier login and access—is something to reconsider when it comes to your privacy. Are you aware of what data is being shared through these connected applications? Use the privacy padlock in Facebook to do a quick privacy checkup.
Google is another company that has a lot of user [privacy] information. Luckily, they make it easy to change globally, so when you change the privacy settings in Gmail, these changes are replicated across Google Drive, Android phones, YouTube, and most other Google entities.
Privacy can be personally identifiable information (PII), or even information related to your browsing history. User privacy, and the ability of companies to sell that data, has been the topic of much debate over many years. But make no mistake, businesses collect and share data about you.
In the U.S., there is no single legislation on user privacy, but there are several laws regarding specific protection of private data:
Many of these we are all familiar with [such as HIPAA; the Fair Credit Reporting Act; the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), which protects the privacy and disclosure of personal information including social security numbers (SSN), driver identification number (DID), driver’s license photographs; or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits the collection of any information from a child under the age of 13. There are also state laws—such a Massachusetts 201 CMR 1700 and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—that cover what user data businesses can collect, and what they do with that data].
The Internet knows a lot about you. In the end, you are responsible for what personal data you include in your profile and what data you share online.