Notes from the Data Privacy Tech MeetupMay 15th, 2015
Steven Blanc, Information & Technology Security Officer at Bowdoin College visited the Curtis Library for a tech meetup in May 2015.
Steve discussed what we can do to protect the privacy of our data in today’s increasingly digital world.
These are my “takeaways” from that Data Privacy Tech Meetup.
Steve began by emphatically stating: “If it’s on the Internet, it isn’t private.”
Our “Digital Identities”
Steve spoke about how we are building “digital identities.”
We should be careful about what we post on our Facebook pages and other social media websites.
This is especially true for job seekers.
Employers shouldn’t look at the Facebook pages of their job applicants but we can assume that they do.
Free Online Services Are Not Free
If you’re not paying for it, you are the product that’s being sold.
Scott cited Gmail and Facebook as prime examples as they both trace your browsing history so they can put targeted ads in front of you.
Both services also make it easy to post data about yourself.
You can of course try to abstain from using any services that collect any data on you but Scott said this is not a practical strategy in this day and age.
Do Not Go “Phishing”
Scott spoke about how we can protect ourselves from fraudulent emails.
– Use common sense, look for red flags. For example, If you weren’t expecting a package from UPS, be vary wary about an email trying to give you information about a “missed delivery.”
– Do not open any attachments if you are not sure about the sender of the email message.
– Check before you click it. If there is a link in an email message, mouseover it and see if the web address in the pop-up window is a match. (screen capture)
– If an email has a phone for you to call, look up the phone number yourself
Use Good Passwords
Scott gave this password example:
This is an abbreviation for “my daughter Katie is 12 years old!”
Scott advised using distinct passwords for critical accounts. No matter how strong a password is, you should not use that same password for your online bank account, your IRA, your credit card, et al.
Scott spoke about password manager programs such as KeePass which enable you to have multiple passwords for your various online accounts but you only need to have know a single master password in order to access them all.
Scott concluded this data privacy tech meetup by stating:
“Once digital, it will live forever. Unless you need it.”
So we need to be very careful and discrete about what we post online.
You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.
— Scott McNealy, Former CEO, Sun Microsystems