On Data Privacy Day, Protect Your Privacy Online

Data Privacy

As we live more and more of our lives online, we are all increasingly subject to being tracked. A significant amount of our personal information is being collected, used, and shared in ways that we are likely not aware of. On Data Privacy Day, take a moment to think about how you interact with the digital world and what you can do to ensure that your information stays private and secure.

Here are a few key things you can do right now to learn more about how your data is being collected and protect your privacy:

  • When you’re browsing the internet, the browser and search engine you use and the websites you visit are likely keeping track of you. Here are some tips to consider:
    • Use your browser’s “incognito” or “privacy” mode.
    • Review your browser’s other privacy settings to minimize tracking.
    • Review the privacy policies of the search engine that you use.
    • Consider regularly deleting your search history.
    • Install privacy add-ons to your browser. 
    • Create unique accounts for all websites and applications rather than using a single log in. A password manager is a great tool to help manage and secure usernames and password.
  • When you’re using social media, companies may be collecting the information that you think you’re sharing just with your friends. Here are some tips to consider:
    • Limit the amount of information you share on social media.
    • Check your privacy settings to minimize what a social media site does with your information.
  • When you’re using your smartphone, numerous applications are collecting your information and tracking your location. Here are some tips to consider:
    • Review and update your privacy settings on all your applications.
    • Turn off location tracking for any apps that don’t absolutely need it.
    • Review your location tracking history for any application that keeps it and consider deleting it.

In addition, if you want to avoid some targeted advertising, you can use the Digital Advertising Alliance’s browser tool to scan your computer, see which partners are serving you targeted advertising, and opt out.

Using these steps, you can feel more comfortable that you are only exposing the personal information necessary to get the services you want, and not giving away information for unintended purposes with unknown consequences. On Data Privacy Day, take a moment to make sure you’re protecting yourself. 

The Office of the Attorney General works to educate District residents about their consumer rights, responds to individual consumer complaints, and takes appropriate law enforcement action when possible. Learn more about your rights and how to protect yourself against scams at oag.dc.gov/ConsumerProtection.