It’s the annual opportunity to remind everyone that Privacy is a fundamental human right.
Privacy legislation has put individuals’ rights, and organisations’ accountability for processing personal data, in the spotlight across multiple regions and countries, ranging from the EU GDPR, to the California CCPA, from the Japanese Act on Protection of Personal Information (APPI) to the Brazilian General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPDP), and counting.
It is appropriate to reflect upon what Privacy truly means - in today’s hyper-connected and hyper-exposed world - to individuals, consumers, professionals, parents, minors, employers, public and private administrators, and any other ‘role’ in society.
“There is no privacy without cyber security” is by now a well-known refrain, but it needs to be conscientiously, and constantly, remembered and applied, in order to be effective.
As our behaviour as pedestrians impacts our personal road safety, so our cybersecurity “posture”, and our online behaviour, will be critical to our privacy.
“We can all play a part in ensuring the true convergence of privacy and security, this will be critical to technological innovation and, importantly, the building of trust” says Dyann Heward-Mills, Chief Executive Officer at Heward-Mills and NortonLifeLock’s Global Data Protection Officer.
Almost ten years ago, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), published the UK Cybersecurity Strategy and advocated good cyber-hygiene for a safe online approach, a guideline ever so current to the present day:
“Because prevention is key, we will work to raise awareness and to educate and empower people and firms to protect themselves online. 80% or more of currently successful attacks exploit weakness that can be avoided by following simple best practice, such as updating antimalware software regularly.”
And just as professional pick pocketers will exploit any distraction or lack of good measures by the public, cyber attackers have trained themselves to take advantage of anything people do, or don’t do, in their daily internet activity.
For example, people do click on links, or open attachments, in emails from unknown senders – sometimes as an automatic reflex, other times because of pure curiosity, maybe enticed by a well-crafted teasing text, compelling users to ‘find-out.’ Conversely, people don’t always back-up their files – raise your hand if you have done one in the last week – which may expose you to ransomware. If you’re a victim of ransomware, having a recent back-up will allow you to restore your data encrypted by the attackers. Not having back-up may push you to pay, moreover without any guarantee that you will be able to decrypt what was compromised.
Let’s therefore celebrate Privacy Day in style, with a resolution at the beginning of a new year and decade: adapting to the risks of the cyber environment, adopting a healthful cyber-hygiene and security posture for ourselves and our families, and making every day Privacy Day.
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