Data Privacy Day 2021

Portrait of Robert Godfrey
Robert Godfrey
Partner, Head of Professional Negligence and Dispute Resolution

Since the Coronavirus pandemic erupted into our lives in 2020, most of us have been relying on technology more than ever to communicate. But with increase in app use and online shopping, comes a bigger risk to our personal data being compromised.

Data Privacy Day is a global effort by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to raise awareness of the importance of keeping personal data safe and spreading the message of how best to protect it.

Taking place every year on 28th January, NCSA encourages both individuals and organisations to think about the privacy of data and how it should be respected.

 “The pandemic has ensured that people all over the globe are more connected now than ever before,” said Executive Director at NCSA, Kelvin Coleman. “Consumers are generating more personal data through the use of devices and the businesses that power that connectivity inevitably collect and store that same data.”

Many of us can be quick to allow companies access to our personal data at the click of a finger, without so much as a second thought about what our information will be used for.

On Data Privacy Day, our Data Breach Solicitors want to remind you how important it is to keep your information safe.

This year, NCSA are encouraging you to ‘Own Your Privacy’ and putting responsibility on businesses to ‘Respect Privacy’ when handling personal data.

Tips for Owning Your Privacy

Owning your privacy is all about deciding when and how your personal information is shared. How often do you think about the implications of sharing your data before granting permission to an app on your phone?

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Who are you sharing your data with? - You might not think that your personal information is that valuable, but to organisations, it certainly can be. Personal information can be anything from your name, phone number and home address, to your IP address and purchase history. Companies will use this kind of data for many reasons, such as targeted marketing and consumer research. So think carefully about who you want to give your data to and whether it’s going to benefit you
  • What apps are you using? - When you’ve download a new app, you might have noticed a pop-up asking for permission to access things such as your location, photos or contacts. While some of these will definitely be required e.g. using your location for a map-based app, others may want your data for other, non-essential purposes. Think about what apps you use often and which could be deleted. Keep them updated regularly to make sure they’re secure. You can turn on automatic updates so you don’t have to worry about remembering
  • Have you updated your privacy settings? - You can adapt your privacy settings for any app or website, depending on how much or little information you want to share, and who you want to share it with. This gives you more control over how your private data is being used

For more advice about looking after your data, see our 10 Top Tips for Keeping Your Personal Data Safe.

How Can Businesses Respect Privacy?

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, businesses must make sure they follow a set of data protection principles, which set out how personal data must be stored and processed. This includes handling it in a lawful and transparent way, and only holding onto it for as long as necessary.

For this year’s Data Privacy Day, NCSA are calling for organisations to take that extra step to respect and protect their customers’ data. This includes improving their privacy policies, and being open and honest about how they’re using personal information. 

What are the Risks of Sharing Personal Data?

Even if organisations are using your data lawfully, data breaches unfortunately can and do happen. And our recent research found that 95% of the UK public didn’t know that many major companies had experienced a data breach in the last 6 years.

While there are steps you can take to protect your data, if a company suffers a data breach and your personal information falls into the wrong hands, this can put you at serious risk of identity theft, phishing or financial fraud.

If you’ve had your data breached and you’re looking to make a compensation claim, get in touch with our Data Breach Solicitors for a free review of your situation. We’ll advise you on whether we think we can handle your case on a No Win, No Fee basis.

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