Cybersecurity expert on personal data privacy in apps, online services

Cyber Insider

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Data Privacy Day is designed to encourage people to safeguard their personal information online.

When we’re online, we often give personal information to apps and websites out of convenience.

“Nobody carries a Rand McNally Atlas in their car anymore. They turn on their app, that’s when we want GPS, to help us get from point A to point B,” Director of AU’s Cyber Institute, Steve Weldon said.

Data Privacy Day emboldens people to reflect on just how much of their personal information they’re giving out online out of convenience. 

“But, with these other things, does it make sense for this app to have access to my contacts, to my location at all times? Yes or no?” Weldon said.

Weldon says it’s important for people to ask themselves whether or not the app or service needs all of the information it’s asking for, or if they want to opt out.

“Would you prefer to have a bit little more privacy, which is very closely related to security, or is the convenience of this in this case worth that potential extra risk? If we would ask ourselves that question as we operate online, we’d do okay,” Weldon said.

He explains there’s usually an excitement associated with something that is fast or free, but when it stores excessive personal data, it isn’t necessarily free.

“There’s often a saying that if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product,” Weldon said.

You can view and change your privacy settings in apps from shopping, to ride sharing, to social media, to see how much access they have to your personal data.

“Look at what you’re trying to do, look at the convenience aspect, but also look at the security and the privacy,” Weldon said. “Is this information about myself something that I’m willing to share or not?”

If you’d like to view or change your privacy settings on popular apps and online services, click here.

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