January 28 is Data Privacy Day (DPD), an annual international effort to promote the importance of data privacy. DPD is sponsored in the United States by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).
This seems like a joke in the United States because there are two sides to your data: the side generating it (usually you) and the side capturing it (usually a company that promises to hold it safely). Too many high profile data hacking incidents have reasonably called our trust into question. That said, there’s no reason to make our personal computers easy targets.
We’ve all heard the phrase “I don’t have anything to hide.” Yeah, that’s just wrong. Read this article Debunking The Dangerous “If You Have Nothing To Hide, You Have Nothing To Fear” for perspective on that. Here’s another great article by Doc Searls on data privacy. Another awesome resource: EFF’s Security Education Companion.
Data privacy and security doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with one thing. Get a password manager and learn how to use it. Check the tips on this page of Safety Tips and pick out something you feel almost comfortable with, give it a try.