A look at the top 10 privacy threats might be surprising.
British Columbia’s privacy watchdog is always on the lookout for threats to people’s privacy, but some issues are more difficult to deal with in terms of regulation.
As such, it’s often about people taking the initiative and learning what the threats may be and making sure they’re doing what they can to protect their data.
“Threats to our privacy increase every day, and some may find it surprising that our laws offer us little recourse to deal with them,” says Colombia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner -Briton, Michael Ecvoy. “As regulators, we are limited in what we can do to penalize bad actors – those individuals and organizations who intentionally misuse people’s personal information and violate their privacy rights for their own purposes.”
McEvoy calls the situation unacceptable and stresses that it must be addressed in legislative reforms.
So what does McEvoy’s office consider to be the top 10 privacy threats that people might find surprising?
1. Data matching: We often think about capturing our personal information in individual cases for products or services, but we need to consider how different data points, harmless in themselves but collected under the same corporate umbrella, might say more about you than you would say. .
2. “Harmless” Apps: Apps that claim to show how your face will age over time may seem like fun and harmless, but should be approached with caution. Biometric information – face, retina or fingerprints – or voice signatures are examples of personal information that could be used in identity theft.
3. “Quiz” on social networks: These also seem innocuous – which Lord of the Rings character is your soulmate or which Disney villain matches your personality? In reality, these quizzes are often aimed at harvesting people’s personal information.
4. Location Tracking: Going on location tracking services might seem convenient, but could help some apps build a considerable profile about you.
5. Legacy data/devices: An old computer may contain personal information that you have forgotten – be sure to erase peripherals and erase or remove hard drives and learn how to recycle them safely.
6. “Smart” devices/outdated software: Before buying that smart coffee maker or other “Internet of Things” connected household item, consider a simpler, unconnected option. The firmware used by these devices may not be updated regularly and could make the device – and anything connected to it – vulnerable to attack.
7. Access levels: Problems can arise when people have access to information they don’t need to do their jobs. Set access levels to ensure that people only access the information they need to perform their job duties.
8. The Unknown: Privacy threats are constantly evolving and the data you provide today could be manipulated in unexpected ways in the future. So make sharing the bare minimum of personal information your default position.
9. A form of what has been called “surveillance capitalism”: Researcher Shoshanna Zuboff coined the term to describe how companies harvest your data as raw material to monetize it and sell it to others who want to predict your future behavior to sell you products.
10. Absence of US regulations: If you do business in the United States or with US contractors, it is important to understand that many jurisdictions have limited or no privacy protections, resulting in limited remedies if your information is mishandled.
— With thanks to the Office of Information and Privacy for compiling the lists at the request of Glacier Media.