Cyber Security

Your Data, Your Rights: Proactive Steps for Personal Data Protection

Encryption button on keyboard. (source: Kaspersky)

Safer Internet Day 2024 has arrived amidst concerns about limited access imposed on various popular apps. As a result, users are resorting to downloading replacements to bypass the new rules. This day is recognized annually as a crucial reminder of the significance of safeguarding personal information in our digital world. Experts at Kaspersky emphasize the critical need for users to proactively approach their data security.

In 2023, several countries debated restricting access to certain popular apps in BrazilIreland, and Japan. In the United States, discussions on limiting access to TikTok resulted in imposing restrictions on the Chinese app on government-owned devices in more than half of the states. However, customers are not always willing to give up their favorite apps, which leads to users looking for alternative ways of accessing content, such as installing replacement apps or bootlegged copies.

The fake downloads used by people trying to bypass the restrictions are usually poorly developed and have vague privacy policies. Some of these applications even violate users’ rights altogether. Moreover, most of these alternative apps tend to disappear after a while for various reasons, such as insufficient numbers of users, which means that sensitive data might end up in the hands of third parties.

To avoid such unpleasant scenarios, Kaspersky experts are sharing several tips:

There is no need to rush when it comes to installing anything on your devices

Discussions regarding any limitations on an app do not necessarily lead to its prohibition. Rushing to find an alternative may mean putting your information at risk, as these types of apps or pirated copies of services may not care enough about the safety of users’ personal data. Before installing anything unverified on any device, it’s always worth weighing out the pros and cons. Official app stores always remain the best and safest option.   

It’s always a good idea to learn about your privacy rights 

A good place to start is to learn more about your country’s legislation governing customer rights and the processing of personal data. For instance, in Great Britain, it’s called The Data Protection Act, which can also be found as a summary for quick familiarization. Then, when reading the app’s privacy policy, it’s important to check if they are respecting users’ rights and collecting only the data they are entitled to. Also, make sure it’s possible to contact customer services and ask them to delete personal information. 

Data oversharing is not a safe option  

It’s always better to minimize the amount of data an app collects about you, as there’s a risk of inadvertent disclosure or misuse of personal data due to insufficient data security measures.

Moreover, once personal data is shared, controlling its distribution and use is often difficult, potentially leading to long-term privacy issues. To prevent such issues, consider limiting access to the photo feed, contacts, and location of the apps that can function without it. This also applies to the microphone: limited access will ensure applications don’t collect personal data while overhearing what you say. 

Modern security solutions can keep personal data safe online 

Modern security solutions can block apps from accessing personal information, alert users if their phone numbers and other data have been leaked, and warn them if a malicious file has been downloaded. Some services help improve personal data security by following simple instructions.

“Restricting popular apps has become a more frequent practice than it used to be. Users looking for a replacement do not always get a quality app with a transparent privacy policy. Knowing users’ rights and paying attention to who and how the app collects data can help prevent personal information from falling into the wrong hands,” commented Anna Larkina, web content analysis expert. 

Written by
Tech Beat Philippines

Tech Beat Philippines is the social media news platform for all things technology. It is also a part of the GEARS section on Daddy's Day Out.

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