Today marks the beginning of Data Privacy Week, which runs from Jan. 24-28, 2022. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) and Virginia’s Office of Data Governance and Analytics (ODGA) are encouraging all Virginians to take action right now to learn about online privacy and to manage your personal information and keep it secure.
Here’s what you need to know to protect your information.
- Understand the privacy/convenience tradeoff: While many accounts ask for access to your personal information such as contacts list, photos and more, is it worth the risk to share it? Make informed decisions about who gets access to your information, and be wary of apps or services that require information that isn’t relevant to the services provided.
- Manage your privacy: Once you decide to use an app or set up a new account, check the privacy and security settings and set them to your comfort level for information sharing.
- Protect your data:
- Understand where your data may be sent after providing it to a company.
- Create long, unique passwords for each separate account.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible, especially on accounts with sensitive information.
For businesses and organizations, respect the privacy of consumers and be transparent about how their personal information is being collected, stored and shared:
- Conduct an assessment: Understand which privacy laws and regulations apply to your business. Use data privacy objectives to drive where to implement security controls for data confidentiality. Consider the use of a privacy officer for your organization.
- Adopt a privacy framework: A privacy framework can help you manage risk and create a culture of privacy in your organization.
- Educate employees: Teach your employees about their and your organization's obligation to protect personal information. Show them how to update their privacy and security settings on work and personal accounts.
"We work every day to keep critical data for the Commonwealth of Virginia safe from hackers and bad actors," said Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth Phil Wittmer. “We encourage every Virginian to learn about ever-increasing risks and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family."
"We are committed to maximizing the value of Commonwealth data through strategic governance, secure and appropriate data sharing, and enterprise analytics services," said Interim Chief Data Officer for the Commonwealth Marcus Thornton. "By protecting not only the integrity of the data but the privacy of it as well, we are able to safely inform decisions that create positive social impacts."
"Data privacy practices empower each individual to understand where personal data is being accessed," said Virginia’s Chief Information Security Officer Michael Watson. "Once you know about the types of data you’re generating online and how it’s collected, shared and used, you are much better positioned to safeguard it."