VICTORIA – The Government of B.C. will proclaim Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, as Data Privacy Day, reinforcing the importance for people to protect their personal privacy, especially when online and using social media.The proclamation coincides with an international effort to empower and educate people about how to protect their personal information and manage their digital footprint. Data protection and privacy is a constantly evolving field and requires ongoing efforts to maintain security.
The B.C. government hosts its 15th annual Privacy and Security Conference in Victoria from Feb. 5 – 7, 2014 that will feature speakers, panel discussions and workshops on the latest news, ideas and developments in privacy and security.
Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson –
“Technology use is such a common part of our daily lives that it is often easy to overlook the need to take care of our personal information. Data Privacy Day is an opportunity to think about our online activity and to learn about how each of us can better protect our online presence.”
University of Victoria, Department of Political Science professor Colin J. Bennett –
“Data Privacy Day serves as a reminder for individuals to check privacy settings on their mobile phones, web browsers and social media sites, and for organizations to ask themselves whether they really need to be collecting as much personal information as they do.”
- Data Privacy Day began in Canada and the United States in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe.
- This Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
- Data Privacy Day is a celebration for everyone and held on January 28th every year.
Data Privacy Day 2014 official website: http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/
For more information about how citizens, organizations and public bodies can protect personal information and maintain data security in B.C., visit: www.cio.gov.bc.ca/cio/priv_leg/index.page
By telephone, people can access more information by calling B.C.’s Privacy and Access Helpline at 250 356-1851 in Victoria or toll free at 1 800 663-7867.
A backgrounder follows on tips to protect your personal information.
Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
Eight simple tips to protecting your personal privacy online
Think before you click – Clicking links is second nature on the Internet, people should always be careful when clicking on unfamiliar text links, especially when they come from unknown companies. Hackers can create templates that look like a bank or other official websites making it easy for them to access your computer and online accounts.
Be cautious about revealing information on social networks – Many people are guilty of providing excessive information on social media profiles. Email addresses and phone numbers can sometimes be enough for hackers to figure out your password. Always be very careful when sharing information in your public profile. Remember to lock down privacy settings. Also, be cautious when sharing photos – photo stealing and misuse of photos is a serious issue.
Only open email attachments from people you know – Attachments may contain software that could potentially harm your computer’s performance, steal your personal information and send viruses to other people.
Don’t respond to emails requesting personal information – Legitimate individuals and companies will not ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through a non-secure means such as email. If you have reason to believe that your financial institution actually does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call the company yourself using the number in your records, not the one the email provides.
Make sure your passwords are strong – When creating new passwords, use a mix of upper and lowercase letters and numbers. Make sure you change your most important passwords, like banking, at least once every six months.
Secure your wireless connection – Make sure you protect your home wireless network with a password and when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks make sure to be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
Upgrade your security – Personal firewalls and security software packages with anti-virus, anti-spam, and spyware detection features are a must-have for those who engage in online financial transactions. Make sure the computer you are using has the latest security patches. Note: Secure website connections start with “https” instead of just “http” and have a key or closed padlock in the status bar that typically appears in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
Protect your phone with a password – Smartphones can hold as much or even more personal information than your laptop or desktop computer. Experts strongly advise us all to password-protect smartphones for protection.