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Keep Your Head on a Swivel, Your Social Media Privacy Settings May Betray You!

Keep Your Head on a Swivel, Your Social Media Privacy Settings May Betray You!

We've entered the age of big data. If you want to protect your personal data from becoming a "big feast" for criminals, you should take feasible precautions!

Today, your phone is bombarded with calls, and every time you pick it up, it is cloyingly an email or message notification? It bears an illusion as if your friends need you all the time when what really awaits is cold calls and spam emails attached with "phishing links", and the spurious websites involved are increasingly hard to distinguish from the real ones too. In addition, even with spam filters in place, there is no way to stymie their ‘enthusiasm’ to reach out to you. We've entered the age of big data. Service providers collect and use our information and preferences to provide tailor-made services. At the same time, scammers are always preying on everyone's personal information. If you want to protect your personal data from becoming a "big feast" for criminals, you should take feasible precautions!

Location Tracking and Data Sharing, Social Media Giants Want Them All

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) examined the privacy policies of 10 social media commonly used by Hongkongers, including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LINE, LinkedIn, Skype, Twitter, WeChat, WhatsApp, and YouTube. Among them, LINE has the lowest rating—2.5 stars out of 5, whereas YouTube has the highest rating of 4.5 stars. The report discovers that all social media will expressly collect between 12 and 19 types of personal information, including browsing history, interactions, calls, messages, location, transaction information and the like. What is perhaps lesser known is that every social media also expressly state that they will transfer users' personal information to their subsidiaries.

Nowadays, we never keep our mobile phones a foot away from ourselves. Whether it is 'Check-in Addicts', or ordinary people, people often overlook the importance of information security, especially when data access is usually required by most apps, some will not even function properly without permitting so. Just as the PCPD report states, 7 out of the 10 social media that accept credit card payment for services and advertising in their applications will automatically store the credit card information. As for popular messaging apps, WeChat does not provide end-to-end encryption for their data transfer; LINE does not have a dual authentication system. In other words, there are stark differences in privacy protection offered by different social media. You should always be cautious when it comes to privacy settings to effectively safeguard your precious personal data!

Don't Underestimate Data Leakage, Deal with It ASAP

It could be detrimental in the event of data exposure. Right off the bat, you could be doxxed. Your credit cards could risk being appropriated, and financial loss could be incurred. At the same time, your credit score could also be blemished and the consequences would be dreadful.

In fact, it is not that complicated to protect your personal information. Here are a few recommendations for you: First, avoid using a public or unsecured Wi-Fi network to browse your social media or carry out online transactions. Second, always use strong passwords and change regularly, avoid reusing the same one for different accounts. Third, only download software from reliable sources. If you are required to provide personal information to a platform, you should first carefully read their privacy policy, such as the purpose of data collection. Fourth, restrict your information privacy on social media to an acceptable extent, such as the visibility of your friends' list, and sensitive information such as your address and license plate number.

In the case where you would like to have an extra layer of protection, monitor your TransUnion credit report and sign up for the free Basic Credit Alert Service. The service is available for free to all Hong Kong identity card holders who are over 18 years of age. TransUnion will send you an email notification whenever there is an important change to your credit report. For instance, a new enquiry made to your credit report, New credit accounts being opened under your name, a change of address or phone number, etc. Taking good precautions minimizes identity theft and the collateral damages. 

Technology brings a more convenient and comfortable life. Big data does not necessarily involve privacy issues. The key to harmony remains in whether the personal information is being handled properly, and whether a balance has been struck between data sharing and personal privacy.

Sign up for your free Basic Credit Alert Service today!

 

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