January 28th is National Data Privacy Day, an educational initiative focused on raising awareness among businesses and individuals about the importance of protecting the privacy of personal information. As more and more companies, websites, and social media collect personal information, it’s essential to consider how you can do your part to keep yourself safe.

To understand the importance of Data Privacy Day, it is vital to understand Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and exactly what privacy is. PII is any combination of data points that can lead to the identification of a specific individual. This can be things such as your name or email address, but most times PII refers to “sensitive PII” such as your Social Security number, driver’s license information, state identification information, or personal account numbers. Sensitive PII can also exist if PII is combined with another piece of information about you such as a birthdate, medical information, or even passwords. The more pieces of data combined about an individual, the more valuable and sensitive the body of information becomes.

Privacy Rights:

First Business Bank honors your privacy and not only protects your confidentiality, but follows principles related to managing your information, including:

  • Informing you of our privacy policy;
  • Not sharing your information without your permission, except as required by law;
  • Allowing you to review and correct information as necessary.

To understand your privacy rights, it is essential that you read the privacy policies of any organization to whom you provide personal information, especially PII. This includes websites, health care providers, insurance companies, and financial institutions. If you do not agree with how they intend to protect your privacy or use your data, consider not using their service. Read the First Business Bank Privacy Notice

Privacy is a Shared Responsibility:

While organizations and websites have a responsibility to protect your privacy, which most will outline in their privacy policy, your privacy is also your responsibility. Social media users are especially susceptible to privacy concerns. Individuals voluntarily place enormous amounts of information about themselves, their friends, and their associates on social media. It is critical that everyone is aware of the information they post on social media services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. This awareness is not limited to what you post about yourself, but what you post about others as well!

Identity Theft Protection:

Unfortunately, there were countless breaches of PII by cyber criminals in 2017, which resulted in the exposure of information about millions of people. As a result, sometimes companies or organizations offer credit monitoring for one year, but this is a very short time. Those who stole the information, or those to whom they passed it on, may hold it for much longer than a year before using it to steal your identity, commit credit card fraud, or something worse, in your name.

If you are considering identity theft protection services, research the firms you are considering engaging with and ensure you understand the services they will and will not provide. Read their privacy policies, because for them to deliver these services you must provide them with varying amounts of PII.

Protecting privacy is both your responsibility and that of the individuals and organizations that have information about you. Do everything in your power to be aware of how you personally can compromise your privacy and hold organizations with which you engage accountable for their management, or mismanagement, of your personal information. In the meantime, happy National Data Privacy Day!

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