Personal Data: Why and how do we protect it?

Abstract: We secure our homes with CCTV cameras, our money in lockers or banks, our personal belongings by locking them away, but why do we not secure our personal data?

As technology advances, more and more personal data is being exchanged. We only seem to address security of data when we hear about company data breaches or when the news headlines topics such as Cambridge Analytica debacle. Even though, many are aware of how data is collected by companies, many view data collection as relatively harmless – in fact, we find it effective as it refines our product searches, tailors recommendations and news feeds according to our preferences. However, we fail to see the extent to which data can be collected and used against us if not protected adequately. From knowing about our habits, health, needs, all the way to our pictures being used to improve facial recognition algorithms, every like, comment, tweet, post is collected and used to analyze us – who we are, what we like, where we go, etc. Companies and government policies are now trying to give us more control over our data and information. The proposed CCPA will offer consumers more control over how data is used/shared. It is now up to each one of us to learn to protect our data and personal information. Therefore, we will provide you with recommendations as to how to secure your data online, how to secure your customer’s data and how government regulations and policies can be improved to help protect your personal information.

Bios: Pavithra and Harshal are both pursuing Masters in Information Security Policy & Management at CMU