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Digital privacy & your social footprint

The recent scandal revealing Facebook information has been shared without the knowledge of users, has highlighted the need to review data privacy. It’s been revealed that third parties have had access to information about almost everything we do in our everyday lives. Individuals create huge amounts of digital information each day, visiting websites, through mobile phones and smart watches - all collecting data that could identify us. Most

people have no idea it’s even happening, but companies like Google and Facebook are tracking so much information about each of us.

The scandal has also created the largest review of the EU General Data Protection regulations (GDPR) in over 20 years and the new EU GDPR has come into effect from the 25th May 2018.

Not only does the GDPR give people more control over how their personal data is used, it also significantly streamlines the regulatory environment for businesses.

Even if your business only processes data on behalf of other companies, you still need to abide by the rules.

This can mean that if you have data relating to an EU citizen in your database, you may be subject to the GDPR regulations. You will probably want to weigh up how much of that data you hold, how sensitive it is and how strategic to your business, to help you decide what steps you take to comply.

Five key points that companies in New Zealand need to understand:

Customers have the right to be informed: the right to ask you about their personal data, how it is used, and why it is being used at any time.

Customers have:

Right of access: customers can request a copy of personal information at any time.

Right of rectification: people can update (or request updates to) personal information at any time.

Right of erasure: people may request that you erase their personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and have third parties halt processing of the data.

Right to object: people can unsubscribe at any time from emails or communications.

For Personal facebook use here’s some advice that will keep most of your information private to you only. Go to Facebook’s Settings. It’s a good idea to review all the tabs and make appropriate changes. The Privacy tab is the biggie here. It’s where you can limit who sees your Facebook information, such as your posts, photos, email address and phone number. If it’s only friends who you want to see your information, change the list in “Your activity” and “How people can find and contact you” to “Only friends”.

Make sure you click “Limit” for the audience for past posts, and select “No” for the setting “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?”.

Don’t use Facebook to log in to another service or application. It makes login simple, but by doing so you’re giving both Facebook and the third-party service access to your data. Examples of this might be spotify, instagram or Pinterest.

Use a separate password unique to that service. In Facebook’s Settings is a link “Apps and websites”. This shows the apps and websites you’ve logged into using Facebook. Delete any or all. And finally, turn off your location setting on your mobile device (usually Settings > Privacy > Location Services). This will stop Facebook and other apps knowing where you are – and where you’ve been. You might have to put up with some of your apps asking you to turn it on again to use them (though why using the Lotto app to check a ticket requires Location Services seems odd).

After all this, you have to remember that Facebook will still keep track of all your Facebook activity, including what ads you click on, what you “Like” and what you read.

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