Be wary of your personal data

Facebook

Facebook took a hammering this week for sharing users personal data with a researcher, who in turn, shared it with Cambridge Analytica.

This issue is said to impact about 50 million Americans.

It’s also a good time for online shoppers to be more wary of sharing personal information online.

In most apps and many sites, there is the option of registering for an account of signing up using Facebook or Google. For convenience, I have often turned to log in using Facebook. After all, it spares me the cumbersome task of filling in yet another form.

Therein lies the risk. It’s not just our Facebook access details but many other bits of information that are being shared. Essentially, the app or site now has access to precious information about who we are, what we do and who we interact with.

Here are some tips to stay safe while shopping online:

  1. Size up the site: Take a look at the site, read reviews about it and find out more about it before transacting with the site.
  2. Read the fine print: Don’t be too quick to click the check box on having read the terms and conditions. Read them before you agree.
  3. Consider the fields: If the site is asking for more information that is needed for a transaction, skip it. They’re probably gathering data for other purposes.
  4. Be mindful of autofills: Autofills save time but it may also make you share more information about yourself that you intend to if you had filled in the form yourself.
  5. Use guest instead: While registering or signing in with your Facebook or Google account make for more convenient transactions, using guest mode means that you don’t need to reveal more about yourself than needed.

While the digital world has opened up huge windows of opportunities and convenience, it’s good to pay attention to your personal data and not share unnecessarily. The best way to protect your data is not some software or site but yourself.

 

 

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