UCSB Champions International Data Privacy Day, January 28

Data Privacy Day is an international effort held annually on January 28 to spread awareness about data privacy and educate individuals on securing their personal information. It also encourages businesses to respect privacy and be more transparent about how they collect, store, and use data. Data Privacy Day 2021 spotlights the value of information and how to “Own Your Privacy” and “Respect Privacy.” UCSB realizes the importance of data privacy and protecting personal information.

We encourage you to understand and learn to exercise your rights. Although regulations like GDPR and CCPA created a splash, many are still unsure what their rights are, how to exercise those rights and understand if companies are compliant. Just having an icon on a home page is not enough. Every data privacy regulation has its own set of rights and interpretation of those rights, but commonalities exist among them, such as: 

  • The right to know what data others collect about you
  • The right to correct inaccurate data
  • The right to know whether your data is sold or shared and who is receiving it
  • The right to deletion or the right to be forgotten

Laws require companies to include the information in their privacy policies. Depending on the regulation, the way consumers submit deletion requests could be different.
Here are some specific steps you can take to protect your online information, identity, and privacy.

  • Know what you share. Check the privacy settings on all of your apps and social media accounts to ensure that they are set to share what you want, with whom you want. Don’t rely on default settings. We encourage everyone to visit staysafeonline.org to check and update their privacy settings on all accounts.
  • Secure all devices, especially smartphones. Virtually everyone carries a smartphone, and often they contain our most personal information. Whether iPhone or Android, research the best way to secure it for full privacy, including remote wipe options.
  • Use a unique password for each site. That way, if one of your passwords gets compromised, the others are still safe. Use complex passwords and never share them. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible helps protect you even more.
  • Use a password manager. Using an encrypted password manager to store your passwords makes it easy to access and use a complex, unique password for each site.
  • Guard your birth date and phone number. These are critical pieces of information used for verification, and you should not share them publicly. If an online service or site asks you to share this essential information, consider whether it is important enough to warrant it.
  • Separate your university and personal presences by using different accounts for each.

Everyone exists digitally on the Internet. When you're online, you leave a trail of "digital exhaust" in the form of cookies, GPS data, social network posts, browser searches, and email exchanges, among others. Services that you don’t even use may have information about you. And once something is online, it can last forever.

On January 28, take time to ensure that the digital “you” matches what you intend to share. Keep what’s private, private, for yourself and when you share about others. Owning your online presence will help protect your identity, finances, and reputation – both now and in the future!