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New Year, New Privacy Settings

This year, start fresh by taking control of your privacy settings. Your online activity holds vast amounts of data. This data can include your interests, purchases, and online behaviors, as well as your financial and health information. Reviewing privacy settings keeps you informed on where your data is while helping secure it, as you may be able to reduce what is being shared.

When downloading a new app or creating a new account, you will often be asked to share various pieces of data, including your location, photos, and contacts. Apps generally want more data than necessary, and businesses want this information for a reason, so it is imperative that you make informed decisions about the data you are sharing. Consider asking yourself the following before sharing your data with a business or service:

  • Is the service worth the amount of data they want in return?
  • Why is the requested data relevant to the service?
  • Can you maintain data privacy while still using the service?

Take control of your data and adjust settings based on your comfort level. These can often be found in the settings of an app or account or in the general settings of a device. The camera, microphone, location, and sync contact features should generally be turned off on a device. If you have any accounts or apps that are unused, consider deleting them to eliminate further collection of data. Remember, it is better to share less, not more.

You can also secure your data by securing your accounts and practicing good cyber hygiene. Use long, unique passwords or a passphrase for each account and enable multifactor authentication where possible. Keep software up to date to reduce vulnerabilities and know how to spot phishing attempts to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to an attack.  

To help protect Michiganders, the State of Michigan offers Michigan Secure, a free mobile protection app for residents that protects against phishing and unsecure Wi-Fi while providing a summaries permissions requests view and privacy summary for new downloads. You can download Michigan Secure today on the App Store or Google Play