The Short Cut: 5 things to know this Data Privacy Week
Matthew Beedham·Jan 27, 2023

The Short Cut: 5 things to know this Data Privacy Week

Matthew Beedham
Jan 27, 2023 · 4 min read
5 things to know this Data Privacy Week | TomTom Newsroom

From January 22 to 28, it's Data Privacy Week. So, this week's Short Cut is going to play a slightly different tune to normal and dive into the week's data privacy stories from the tech industry.

Like any tech company, TomTom has a responsibility to protect the data it gathers and uses. It also needs to remain transparent about what it's gathering. Skip to the end of The Short Cut, for four stories about TomTom's approach to location data and privacy.

Now, onwards! Here are five-ish articles and stories we think you should read this Data Privacy Week.

The year ahead for privacy

Some are expecting a boom in privacy focused tech this year.

We might be seeing the first blows of more privacy focus in the tech industry come to fruition between Apple and Google.

According to a report by the Financial Times, Apple is moving to decouple its mobile OS from Google features such as maps, search and advertising.

There'll also be a rise in privacy-focused tech, greater emphasis on privacy by design and an increase in regulations, InformationWeek writes.

InformationWeek also expects cookies to become a thing of the past as people become more aware of how they work and how their data is used. That said, companies will look to track individuals with new technology, like browser fingerprints, negating the need for cookies.

Picture of a basket of fresh, chocolate chip cookiesThis kind of cookie is always good. The types of cookies that track you around the internet and infringe on your privacy are not. Credit: SJ on Unsplash.

Privacy matters because data is valuable

A couple of weeks ago, we looked into why location data is so valuable. As with personal data, the knowledge and information that can be extracted from it can be incredibly useful.

Naturally, companies want our data. For some, it allows them to build better products that better meet the needs of their customers. For others, it allows them greater insights into their customers to strengthen marketing efforts.

Tony Anscombe, chief security evangelist at cybersecurity firm ESET, says that even people in the know likely don't know just how much personal data they're giving away.

The breadth of data that companies collect has led to various legislation to protect individuals. Even so, Anscombe still believes that we should educate ourselves on the concepts of personal data, its value and the risks associated with its use and abuse.

Simplifying the complex

The good folks over at the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) have done us all a huge favor. On their blog, they've compiled a veritable smorgasbord of links to the privacy settings of tech platforms and services.

Check it out here!

With the NCA's list, you can get quick access to your privacy settings for dating apps, online shops, email services, video conferencing platforms, streaming, music, health, ride-sharing, social networks, search engines and more.

Thanks, NCA. You just saved me five hours of work.

Apple offers in-store infosec training

When it's Data Privacy Week, it's pretty typical for tech companies to unleash their creativity and come up with some kind of content, ahem, or public activities to demonstrate how seriously they take privacy.

This year Apple is celebrating Data Privacy Week by offering free in-store trainings for Apple device owners. Apple will show off and educate users on how to use the iPhone's built-in privacy features, Computer World reports.

Apple has also put privacy resources on its homepage, to make them easy to find.

Not everyone is for Apple's moves, so check out Computer World's report for the full story.

Top tips to protect yourself, and your data, online

All this talk of personal data and tracking has got me a little nervous. But with the following tips from Thorin Klosowski of the New York Times, I'm a little less so.

The tips are quite simple too. Secure your accounts, check websites like Have I Been Pwned? and change passwords of your affected accounts.

Speaking of which, use a password manager and think about protecting your web browsing.

Use extensions like DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials or Privacy Badger to prevent being tracked so much as your trawl the web.

And finally, of course the perennial favorite, use antivirus on your computer. Even though viruses themselves aren't as much of a problem as they were 10 years ago, they're still around and not worth risking.

Everyone should use a VPN nowadays, whether on public networks or at home. They have many privacy features that help keep your data and you safe online. Oh, and never leave your laptop unattended in public. Credit: Petter Lagson on Unsplash.

I'm going to add a bonus tip: use a virtual private network (VPN). They're not just for getting all the best shows on Netflix, many come packed with anonymizing features and functions that ensure internet nasties are kept at bay. NordVPN is my personal favorite, but many others do the same job, just don't use the free ones.

That's all for this week, and this special edition of The Short Cut. Check back soon to read more of what we're reading in tech, mobility and location data.

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