What do the apps you use collect about you? How much control over your device and your information are you giving when you download them?  Are you concerned?  Should you be?  Do you take a look at their Privacy Notices or Statements before you download?

Take a look at this video from the #PrivacyProject:

The message: read those Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statements that apps publish before you download or give permission for an app to do something.  If you cannot find a privacy notice or a statement about how they use data or what control you are giving over, think twice before downloading or do more research about that app before using it.

Feeling Social?

social networking
Photo credit–Security Office at the University of Arizona. Click on the graphic for more social networking privacy & data security tips from our peers in Arizona.

During this last week of Data Privacy Month (can you believe that January is almost over???), we are focusing on social networking.  Websites and Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others have become an integral part of the social and professional lives of many of us.  It is easy to connect with friends and colleagues, and to network and find new opportunities.  It is important to remember, however, that creating an online presence can create a reputation, for the positive or the negative.  It can also lead companies and advertisers to know your buying history, or identity thieves to figure out your passwords, credit card data and other sensitive information.

Here are some things to consider when engaging in social networking and sharing information about yourself online:

  • Think about what you share online on a typical day.  Do you really know what you are sharing and with whom?  Do you know how others might be using your information or collecting data about you?  (On that note, check out this article in this month’s Travel + Leisure Magazine!)
  • Once posted, always posted:   Assume that what you post (or what others post about you!) is permanent.  Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or grandparents to see!
  • Protect your reputation on social networks.  Would you want a future employer to see that picture or know what you posted to a website?  Many employers and job recruiters run searches of applicants and future employees on search engines and social networking websites.  Take charge of your overall online reputation.
  • Know and manage your online “Friends.”  Be cautious of accepting a ”friend request” from people that you do not know.  Be wary of folks who may post photos or information about you that you might not want posted.
  • Be sure to review and update your privacy settings on a regular basis.  Social networking sites are known to change their privacy settings, privacy practices and terms of use, so keep up to date on what those networks are doing with data, and what your privacy options are.
  • Be cautious about clicking on ads on social networking sites and links posted by friends.  Many companies use social network advertising for data tracking and behavioral targeting.
  • More information about keeping a clean presence online while social networking can be found at


lolOMGbook         .lolOMGhs

This just in…

In honor of Data Privacy Day 2013, Matt Ivester’s digital citizenship book, lol…OMG!, is available to download (for Kindle) for FREE on Amazon between January 25-29. Ivester is an interesting guy, and comes at this stuff from a unique perspective.

Here’s  some more info about the book and the author.

(P.S., It is the High School edition that is free this go around.  Last year they offered the original book, aimed at the college-aged population.  I’m guessing its a good read either way!)


Are you smarter than your smartphone?

 EDUCAUSE DPM graphics

 The theme of this year’s Data Privacy Month efforts is Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data & Enabling Trust.”  Like many other colleges and universities, UConn is partnering with EDUCAUSE to provide you with tools and information to protect yourself, your family, your students and university data.  This month, EDUCAUSE is offering several webinars that are free and open to the higher education community.  We welcome you to participate. Click here for more information on all of the webinars offered this month.

Here is some information about this week’s webinar:

Nearly everyone on a college campus today has a mobile phone, but how should you make use of your smartphone? You are smarter than your phone if you use sound judgment about revealing your location. You’re smarter than your phone if you know you need to think critically about the sensitivity of the data you put on or access through your phone. You are smarter than your phone if you protect it with a password. If you’re not thinking critically about what you do with your phone, we’ll help you think again!

Click here to register.

Mobile Devices and Smartphones


This week, we are focusing on the best ways to ensure that your personal information and data are protected on mobile devices, and in particular, smartphones.  Here are some pointers for protecting yourself on online when you are on the go!

Mobile Devices and Smartphones:

Mobile devices are computers with software that need to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer.

  • A 2012 National Security Alliance (NCSA) & McAfee Online Safety Study found that 64% of respondents never installed security software or apps on their smartphone.  If possible, install security software, or utilize security apps that come with your smartphone or mobile device.
  • Check out this video that offers guidance on how to secure your smartphone.
  • Don’t forget to apply security updates on a regular basis!
  • Connect with Care!  Use common sense when you connect. If you’re using a wi-fi hotspot or going online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.


  • Where available, turn on the password or pin setting so that a login in needed as soon as you turn on the device.  Be sure use a strong or complex password, pin, or pattern to protect both the device itself, and the information you store in it.
  • Create complex passwords for each of your accounts, particularly on mobile devices and never save them in an unsecure location. Click here to learn what a complex password entails or here to check the strength of passwords.


  • Mobile Apps are software programs you can download and access directly using your phone or another mobile device, like a tablet or music player.
  • Only download Apps from secure and recognized sites.
  • Understand your Apps.  Make sure you know what the App does, and what it can access on your mobile device.  Can it access your contacts?  Your location? Your calendar?  Does it capture and/or store credit card or other personal information?
  • Do the Apps you have downloaded use geotagging. While sometimes useful, (like when using your current location to navigate directions), you may also view it as an invasion of privacy. Be careful when you tag your location, especially on social media sites.
  • Not a fan of being tracked?  Here’s how you can turn off geotagging.
  • StaySafeOnline.Org has lots of additional pointers for managing and protecting you information on the go!