Protect your privacy online

To mark Privacy Awareness Week, run through our checklist of advice to make sure your personal information is protected.
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Online privacy is a big deal. So big, in fact, that shortly after his inauguration in 2009, US President Barack Obama cautioned teens dreaming of a career in the Oval Office to think before posting on Facebook, explaining you just don’t know if what you post today will come back to haunt you.

Protecting your online privacy extends beyond simply thinking about what information you share on social media sites. So it's worth taking the time out to find out what online privacy means and how you can protect yours. Thankfully, there are ways to control what information people have access to.

Why not use Privacy Awareness Week to run through the checklist of advice provided to CHOICE by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities and make sure you're not leaving yourself vulnerable to privacy violations. It may lead to more than embarrassment; unsecure personal details are at risk of identity theft which can lead to hacked emails and other serious illegal activity.

Arm yourself with the information you need to reduce your chances of becoming the victim of email scam. See CHOICE’s Email scams – how to avoid being duped. For a light overview of what can be a rather heavy subject, see APPA’s animation, How Private Is Your Profile?

Safeguard yourself

Have you protected your online privacy? Don't get caught out, tick off the following APPA checklist:

  • Check online privacy settings so you are aware of how your information is used. It’s important to understand what someone else intends to do with your information, to choose who sees your posts when social networking and to exercise you right to ‘opt out’ of receiving marketing material if you choose to.
  • Limit the personal information you reveal. You make it easier for identity thieves when you make lots of information about yourself public. Pictures and comments you make today on social networking sites may embarrass you in the future. Also, think about how you are disposing of your personal documents – why not use a shredder?
  • Read privacy policies to know how an organisation protects your information.
  • Ask a few questions next time someone asks you for personal information, like your name, date of birth and where you live. What do they want it for? What will they do with it? Who else will see it and how will it be stored? Will they destroy it when they no longer need it? It’s your information, don’t just hand it over without asking “why”?


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