I recently wrote an article for CMSWire discussing how a consumer can make small changes to protect his or her online identity and what organizations can do to support these efforts.
Those who have made a purchase – whether in-store or online – within the last few years understand that providing an email address has become a standard part of doing business in the United States. In light of the recent observance of Data Privacy Day, I presented questions for consumers to consider asking the next time they are asked for this information:
- What will you do with it?
- With whom will you share it?
- How will your company protect it?
Chances are that most retail clerks will not have the answers to your questions on-hand. However, if you are doing business with a regulated entity, such as a bank or financial institution, the organization is required to provide information about its privacy practices in an annual notice along with information about how it shares information with its affiliates.
This brings us to the question at-hand – even if you trust the company with which you are doing business, do you trust the companies they work with to do their business? When you provide your email address to your favorite downtown shop, online music store, or even your bank, you are entrusting them with your personal information. Do you know if they share that information with business affiliates and partners, or if they sell their mailing lists to others?
In the same way that you protect your physical identification and credit cards by securing them in your wallet or purse, remember to take the same care with your identification and financial information online. Don’t choose to have websites “remember” you unless you are confident in their privacy and security practices. Select to use the most protective settings in your web browser of choice. While you may have to fill out online forms more than once and your items may not be saved in your cart for the next time you visit the site, you can rest easy knowing you are taking the right steps to protecting your identity in any way you can. At the end of the day, if consumers make protection of their private information a priority, then the companies competing for their money and loyalties must do so as well.
To read more about how consumers and organizations can work together to protect personal information, please visit CMSWire.
Learn how we can help your organization establish trust with consumers and secure sensitive data by visiting our website.