DATA PROTECTION AND SECURITY
Due to the large amounts of data that each of us leaves behind every day, it is becoming increasingly important to maintain control over our own data. In the following module you will learn how to do this.
Instructions: How to work with this module
Do you plan a workshop? Here you can find ideas for a 25-minute, 45-minute and 90-minute workshop.
WHAT IS DATA PROTECTION?
Address, date of birth, bank account data – a lot of information about you is stored as a matter of course. But what happens when your data is passed on to others? How can you protect your own data?
The term “data protection” does not mean the protection of data itself. “Data protection” wants to protect the people whose data is collected, stored and used. Data protection regulations are laid down in laws. They are designed to prevent people from losing control of their personal data. People should always be able to decide for themselves how their data is used. This is called informational self-determination.
Internationally, there are different approaches to data protection. Find out more on the next page!
In the past, there have been incidents where user data from various Internet services has been stolen and published. The aim of data protection is to prevent such incidents and to protect people.
On the next page you can see some of these “data mishaps”.
WHAT ARE APPS ALLOWED TO DO?
Whether contacts, professional appointments, friends or reminder photos – your smartphone knows you and your personal data very well. But would you be willing to pass all of this data on to strangers? That is exactly what you are doing when you assign “App Permissions” in your smartphone settings. Of course, many apps only work if you share certain data, for example, you need to give a photo app access to your camera. A map service only makes sense if it knows your location. However, some apps also want access to data they do not need, such as phone numbers or contacts. Here, users themselves must become active and restrict this type of access.
BIG DATA – WHAT’S THAT?
Each day, billions of people use the Internet thus creating huge amounts of data. This is also called „Big Data“.
If we search for something online or use digital navigation services each usage of the Internet leaves digital traces behind. Apart from personal data such as your address or phone number, other data such as how long you remained on a certain website or which products you often look at also belongs to the category of Big Data.
Social networks or websites collect data – and you reveal a lot of this data yourself. Some platforms handle user data carelessly. It was only in March of 2018 that it became known that several million pieces of data from Facebook users, such as their age or place of residence, were passed on to third parties. As a user, you can prevent this by changing your privacy settings on the Facebook website.
You can see how this works on the following page.
Every time you click on a website you leave traces. Whether you are looking for new clothes or your next holiday destination, the website registers your interest and saves your entries. You can find out how companies handle this data, for example, in the data protection regulations.
THE TRANSPARENT MAN
At first glance it is not always clear which data we leave behind on the Internet. However, we often disclose very personal data.
Use the before and after comparison to find out which information is available about Anna-Lena on the Internet.
FLASHLIGHT AND CONTACTS?
Anna-Lena uses various apps on her smartphone in her free time. She often uses a flashlight app on her way home in the evening. The light makes her feel safer when she is alone. A flashlight app does not require any data such as location or contacts.
Think about it before you continue scrolling: Is this true?
FLASHLIGHT AND CONTACTS?
In 2013 it became known that the operator of a flashlight app was secretly collecting data from users. Users were not aware of which data was collected and when. After this became public knowledge, the operators of the app had to delete all of the user data they had collected.
That is why you should always read exactly which data apps require before installing them. Also, a short search in an online search engine can often give you hints: Have other users already complained about the app? Is there any evidence that the app is dubious?
ADVERTISING AND COLD CALLING
Anna-Lena was looking for a new smartphone when she came across a very interesting competition from a trustworthy source. All she had to do was enter her address and telephone number in order to participate. A few days later her phone rang. Anna-Lena was offered new smartphones and mobile phone contracts.
Think about it before you continue scrolling: Can you imagine such a situation?
ADVERTISING AND COLD CALLING
Data collected during competitions is often used for such purposes. Competitions in particular, often require data that is not necessary at first glance – e. g. your telephone number. The following wording is then often found in the conditions of participation:
“By entering this competition, I agree to the commercial use of my data.”
With your consent, the data and your telephone number may subsequently be passed on to third parties.
VIRUSES, MALWARE AND SPAM
In her free time, Anna-Lena likes to use social media – especially with new trends such as dating apps. She recently came across a new interesting app. After she downloaded it, an enormous amount of advertising suddenly appeared on her mobile phone. In addition to advertising for clothing and mobile phone contracts, a window with a virus warning also appeared. It asked for some information about her device and her person. The virus could only be removed after she entered the information it was asking for.
Think about it before you continue scrolling: Is that possible? What could be the cause of all of the advertising?
VIRUSES, MALWARE AND SPAM
The messages were probably so-called “adware”. The term is composed of the English words “advertisement” and “software”. Adware often has a quite harmless reason – for example, a free program financed by advertising. Sometimes, however, a virus or malware is also the cause of the advertisement. If you suspect that your computer could be infected by a virus, you should react. An antivirus program for mobile devices provides protection against attacks like these.
On the Internet we disclose – both intentionally and unintentionally – private data. But data about us is also collected at work or during leisure time. Security cameras are widely used in many public places (e. g. train stations). More and more places are being video-monitored for security reasons. Drones are also used and monitor, for example, demonstrations or crime scenes from above.
This is one of the reasons why security measures such as these are being discussed in public: When do we truly feel safe? When do you feel your privacy is being violated or you are being watched?
DATA PROTECTION THROUGH DATA ECONOMY?
In the last chapter you already became acquainted with various problems. But you can't do entirely without data on the Internet. In other words, you have to enter your address for your order to be delivered. So the question is not: Which data do I want to disclose on the Internet? But rather: Which data is required at which point?
On the following pages you will find many tips on how you can protect your own personal data.
Data protection starts with the device that is being used. Keep your smartphone, PC or tablet software up to date. You can prevent unauthorized access by using PINs, passwords or fingerprint or face scanners. Anti-virus programs on mobile devices also offer protection.
A quick e-mail check while you are underway? Public networks are a convenient way to connect to the Internet. However, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Find out more on the next page!
THE RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN
What if something gets on the Internet that you do not want there? Every citizen has the right to have private data removed from the public domain on the Internet. The so-called “right to be forgotten” allows users to prevent links to Google search queries or to report and delete content on Facebook, for example. In this way, private traces on the Internet can be removed.
You want to remove content from the Internet? On Google or Facebook you can, for example, do this using a specific contact form.
ALTERNATIVE SEARCH ENGINES
In addition to the well-known search engines such as Google or Bing, there are also more and more alternative search engines.
Some search engines like DuckDuckGo or StartPage want to offer their users more security. The connection is always encrypted and no user data (e.g. IP address) is stored.
Other alternative search engines such as Ecosia or
MetaGer operate their servers with renewable energy. These search engines are non-profit oriented. Their profits are donated, for example, to a rainforest project.
DATA PROTECTION TODAY
Data protection will continue to affect many areas of our everyday lives in the future. By 2020, the “Internet of Things” will have connected up to fifty billion electronic devices – be it the refrigerator, the navigation device or the automatic vacuum cleaner. The manufacturers of these devices should, according to data protectors, pay attention to users’ privacy in the development and production of their products. This means that users should know exactly which data is collected when and how it is encrypted. The “Privacy by Design” requirement is already taken into account in the general data protection regulation of the EU (GDPR).
PROTECT YOUR DATA
Stay in control and be proactive! You have learned about many possibilities in this module: change the privacy settings of your social networks or protect your devices. Data protection is your right – use it!
You can find a summary of the module in the download section.