January 28th is Data Privacy Day. It is a day dedicated to taking a closer look at how much of your personal information is on the web. This is a great time to Google yourself and find out what shows up. As Google tailors your search results based on your previous activity, this exercise is more effective on a computer you haven’t used before. If you find the search results are showing more information about you than you are comfortable with, go into your accounts and change your privacy settings.
This exercise is also a great way to be reminded of old accounts that you have forgotten about and no longer use. As neglected accounts are more easily taken over by hackers, these accounts should be deleted. You may not need the account anymore, but I am pretty sure you wouldn’t want someone else using it to impersonate you. Things could get embarrassing or just plain awkward.
Although Data Privacy Day is a great time to check your online footprint. It is an exercise that you should do every few months. Those clever account providers are constantly changing their privacy settings. Each time they do, there is the possibility that something that was previously private is now public. By checking regularly you will make sure only the personal information that you want exposed is available to the public.
To help the Mount Royal Community out with their Data Privacy Day chores, I will be on Main Street January 31 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Come down to see me and get googled on my computer. Everyone who does gets to spin the prize wheel and walk away with some swag. I will also be available to answer any questions that you have about privacy settings and minimizing your online footprint. See you there!!