Commissioner Cavoukian urges everyone to stay diligent in protecting
themselves online with five easy resolutions
TORONTO, Jan. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - As we spend more and more time online,
people need to be diligent in protecting their online privacy and
personal information to avoid identity theft and fraud. Over this past
holiday season, many Ontarians received or purchased new smartphones
and tablets; consequently, many have spent a significant amount of time
adding new applications, but too few have taken the time to consider
the privacy risks.
"Through web browsing, posting on social networks, and the downloading
of applications, personal information about individuals can be easily
collected and stored indefinitely, making protecting our online privacy
a growing concern," said Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's Information and
Privacy Commissioner. "I encourage everyone to make a commitment to
protecting themselves by incorporating these five resolutions into
their online habits."
Commissioner Cavoukian recommends these five simple New Year's
I will review my social network privacy settings regularly.
Always understand what you are sharing online and who can see it. Take
the time to carefully review the privacy settings for each social
network and application you are using. For example, it has become quite
common for many applications to add time and geo-location data to
photos, thereby allowing anyone to track your location. Remember -
these settings can change at any time without your consent, so the onus
is on you, the user, to be aware.
I will think before I click!
Once you post online, it is very difficult to erase. Numerous new
companies have appeared with the sole intent of "cleaning up" online
histories. This is completely unnecessary if you proactively consider
what you are posting online. Consider what a future employer or a
scholarship funder might think of a post. Carefully evaluate what an
identity thief might be able to do with the information you are
I will always consider the five W's of personal information.
Whether you are purchasing a product online or joining a new social
network, minimize the amount of personal information you give out.
Always evaluate if the website or application really needs so much
information to provide you with a service. When divulging information,
think about the following five W's: Who wants it and who will have access to it? Why do they want it? What will it be used for? Where will your information be stored? When will your information be used and when will it be discarded?
I will make my passwords unique.
With numerous programs circulating to break passwords, it is important
to keep them difficult to decrypt, but also easy to remember. One
straight-forward solution is to use the same word in two languages
(i.e. home and maison). To make it even more difficult to break, use
the phonetic spelling of one of the words. The addition of numbers,
symbols, and capital letters will also help to ensure strong protection
I will carefully read the fine print.
It is imperative that you understand the terms and conditions of any
application or program before clicking agree. Buried within this
information can be permissions for companies to share your personal
information and online habits without your knowledge. (We know this is
a tough one - we're asking for a lot!)
About the IPC
The Information and Privacy Commissioner is appointed by, and reports
to, the Ontario Legislative Assembly, and is independent of the
government of the day. The Commissioner's mandate includes overseeing
the access and privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which applies to both public and private sector health information
custodians. The Commissioner's mandate also includes helping to educate
the public about access and privacy issues.
SOURCE: Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
For further information:
Media Relations Specialist
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner - Ontario