The corollary to the influx (or one might say deluge) of privacy decisions to be made on an average day is your desired balance of convenience over exposure and risk. The adage that one person’s “cool and convenient technology” is another person’s “creepy personal intrusion” now rings true in all facets of one’s personal, professional and commercial lives.
As author Meg Bower recently pointed out “[t]he Internet has given us access to a constant stream of data about everything from our heartbeat to how much milk is in the refrigerator. We can see any building from satellite or street perspective. The darker side of this vast array of information is the vague sense of privacy lost, of things that need not be known and things that are best kept unknown.” Correction News, June 28, 2017.
Needless to say, as the ways to track, use and share data multiply every day, people are not necessarily consistent with or even aware of the choices they may be making. So, each individual must make an effort to determine for themselves and their children (and sometimes elderly parents) the right level of privacy and care necessary to protect their personal data on a daily basis. Predictably, but unfortunately, there is no one size fits all formula to apply.
For those who grew up before personal computers and the onslaught of the Internet, today’s social media and other electronic avenues for exposure can be very unsettling, particularly in the financial and security realms. For those who have come of age in the Internet era, none of this is necessarily cause for concern. Sharing of anything and everything at any time is simply a viable option or, for some, a way of life.
The bottom line is that there are no unilaterally “right” answers but there are some smart practices. These depend upon what you do for a living, your personal online social media and transactional habits and a myriad of other factors that make your privacy concerns unique to you and your family.
Some very basic common sense suggestions include reading privacy policies before clicking “Accept”, using a neutral email for acquaintances or commerce, not giving out your cell phone number unless it is absolutely necessary and looking yourself up online periodically to see what comes up. If you are uncomfortable with your Internet results, you now know where to focus your initial efforts to eliminate some unwanted sources of your personal information online.
Knowing yourself, your tolerance for exposure and your desire for expedience, is the first and most important step to deciding how best to protect your personal privacy and that of your loved ones.
Elizabeth R. Bacon, Elizabeth is a commercial litigation lawyer and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) practicing in Naperville. Find her on Facebook (Elizabeth Bacon, Privacy and Litigation Counsel) and contact her with questions about your business and privacy concerns at ebacon@NapervilleLaw.com