Online data privacy has never been more present on the public agenda than in the past few months, when news about Facebook data misuse broke as the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolded. Whether the scandal is purely political, having the can-not-be-ignored Trumpian element attached to it, or the billion dollar pixel empire of Silicon Valley ( as Wired describes it), there is a certain collateral that goes much deeper than politics or the Valley. And that collateral element is how easy we ourselves give away personal data in our idealized, highly curated virtual identities we create. Before pointing the finger at anyone, perhaps we should take a moment and think about what any public post or action we take inside a social media platform implies and the consequences that every such action can have on the digital environment, when done collectively.
Stepping aside from the Facebook scapegoat, since we all know it’s not just Facebook that allows public data collection, but many more, let’s think about the positives in the wake of recent events. What is it that we can draw from the precedent and what can we do to ensure that we are taking our data security into our own hands.
As data security enthusiasts, we take online privacy seriously and like to focus on what we can do to create a safe haven for ourselves when online. In the following, we compiled a few things that you can do right now to secure your Facebook account. Some of the features we are going to tell you about were already there before the scandal erupted and some were added as a result of the event (et voila!)
1.Check if your information has been shared with Cambridge Analytica
First things first, you can actually check wether your account was affected during the Cambridge Analytica data collection or not here. Hopefully you will get a message like this one:
2.Manage your privacy settings
Find it in the Privacy Settings and Tools page. Here you can chose if you want to make your profile information, including your friend list, phone number, photos, posts, etc) visible only to your friends or to everyone. You can also hide your entire profile from search engines.
3.Manage Ad Preferences
Since you don’t have the option to avoid ads completely, you can make changes that would enable the network to serve you better. You can learn everything about what options you have in the Ad Preferences section
4.Remove apps you no longer use
In the App Settings page (that you can access by going to the Settings menu and then by clicking Apps), you can check what data you are providing to apps and remove the data you no longer want to share or simply delete the apps you no longer use altogether
5.Soon to be implemented: Access your information data management feature
Facebook is rolling out a new feature over the next weeks hat will allow users to have more control over their profile and timeline information, such as old posts, tags, searches, likes, comments, etc. here’s a sneak peak of how the page will look like.
6.For more security while online
make sure you set yourself up with a VPN and browse the internet uncharted.
Adding an extra hop to the route between your PC and sites like Facebook, your location data, for example, can be easily camouflaged.
Across the world, businesses use VPNs to connect to remote data centers, or for employees to connect remotely to the physical network of their workplace, while individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their information from the potential liabilities that lie ahead once exposed to unsecured networks such as public WiFis or hotspots.
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