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UCSB is a Champion of International Data Privacy Week, which is observed from January 24 - 28. Data Privacy Week is an international effort sponsored by the National Cybersecurity Alliance that is held annually in January to spread awareness about online privacy and educate citizens on how to keep their personal information secure. Millions of people are unaware of and uninformed about how their personal information is being used, collected, and shared in our digital society. Data Privacy Week aims to inspire dialogue and empower individuals and companies to take action.

We encourage you to understand your rights and how to exercise them. While regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) increased attention, it seems that many folks are still unsure exactly what their rights are, how to exercise those rights, and how to understand if companies are actually compliant. Every data privacy regulation has its own set of rights and interpretation of those rights, but there are certain commonalities among them, such as: 

  • The right to know what data is being collected about you.
  • The right to correct inaccurate data.
  • The right to know whether your data is sold or shared and who is receiving it.
  • The right to deletion or the right to be forgotten.

Companies are required to include the information in their privacy policies. Just having an icon on their home page is not enough. 

Here are some specific steps you can take to protect your online information, identity, and privacy:

  • Know what you are sharing. Check the privacy settings on all of your apps and social media accounts to ensure that they are set to only share what you want, with whom you want. Don’t rely on the default settings. We encourage everyone to visit to check and update their privacy settings on all accounts. 
  • Secure all devices, especially smartphones. Smartphones are carried by virtually everyone and often contain our most personal information. Whether using an iPhone or Android, research the best way to secure it for full privacy, including options such as remote wipe.
  • Use a unique password for each site. That way, if one of your passwords gets compromised, the others are still safe. Use complex passwords and never share them. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible will help protect your accounts even more.
  • Use a password manager. Using an encrypted password manager to store your passwords makes it easy to access and use a complex, unique password for each site.
  • Guard your birth date and telephone number. These are key pieces of information used for verification, and you should not share them publicly. If an online service or site asks you to share this critical information, consider whether it is important enough to warrant it.
  • Keep your University and personal presence separate. Use different accounts for each.
  • Review privacy policies. Review the privacy policy for the website/merchant you are visiting. Know what information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be stored, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with others.

All of us exist in digital form on the Internet. When you're online you leave a trail of "digital exhaust" in the form of cookies, GPS data, social network posts, browser searches, and email exchanges, among others. Services that you don’t even use may have information about you. And once something is online, it can be there forever.

It is important to ensure that the digital “you” matches what you intend to share. It is also important that what is meant to be private remains that way, for yourself and what you share about others. Owning your online presence will help to protect your identity, finances, and reputation – both now and in the future!

Data Privacy Week Events:

The Data Privacy Balancing Act

Virtual | January 26, 2022, 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm (ET)

Join the National Cybersecurity Alliance and LinkedIn for Data Privacy Week 2022! This free event will convene data privacy experts from industry, government, academia, and non-profit for an afternoon of keynotes, panels, and discussions on current topics in data privacy. Register here. 


Virtual | January 28, 2022, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (ET)

Join Privacy Ref for this two-hour webinar which will cover the basics of privacy, responding to privacy incidents, and basic regulations that may affect your organization! Register here.