This week (2-8 May) is Privacy Awareness Week (PAW), an annual event to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and respecting personal information, led by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in partnership with state and territory privacy regulators and the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities members.
The theme for 2022 is ‘Privacy: The foundation of trust’. Every day we can contribute to a foundation of trust by performing simple actions when we collect, use, store and share personal information.
Privacy has become more important to us in recent years, yet we’re losing trust in organisations protecting our data. The Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2020 found that, of the Australians surveyed:
- 85% have a clear understanding of why we should protect our personal information.
- 87% want more control and choice over the use of our personal information.
- 84% consider privacy extremely or very important when choosing a digital service.
It’s easy to build good privacy habits as an individual by following these 10 simple and effective building blocks for a solid foundation of privacy:
- Value your personal information. Your personal information reveals who you are, what you do and what you believe. It’s valuable and should be protected.
- Check before you share. Make sure you trust who you share your information with. If it looks suspicious, don’t risk it.
- Protect your accounts. Use multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases to protect your accounts.
- Protect your devices. Be sure to update your devices and applications to fix issues and address new security concerns. Set up and perform regular backups so you don’t lose your personal information if something goes wrong.
- Update your privacy settings. Many websites, apps and devices share your personal information by default. Check if you are sharing any information that you’d rather keep private. Consider limiting location tracking, deleting or not accepting cookies and choosing your advertising preferences.
- Clean up your trail. Destroy personal information before throwing it out and wipe data from old devices. The same applies online—make sure you delete accounts and emails you no longer need.
- Think before you share. Draw boundaries between what you share publicly and with those you trust. Perhaps consider making your social media accounts private, and always make sure friends and family are happy to be tagged in posts.
- Act quickly. Sometimes things go wrong. If your privacy is breached, act quickly to reduce your risk of harm. Steps you can take include changing your passphrases, watching out for scams and checking your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Talk about privacy with your friends and family.
(Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, 2022)
For more information on how you can protect your privacy and this year’s Privacy Awareness Week events, check out the Privacy Awareness Week 2022 website.