The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) published new advice for Canadians on maintaining privacy settings when using social media sites or other online services, mobile devices and mobile apps, home digital assistants, wearables and online games.
“Settings help you indicate whether or not you give consent for the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information. That’s why it’s important to choose and set privacy settings that you are comfortable with on all social media accounts, online services, devices and browsers,” OPC wrote in its notice.
Along with providing advice for various devices and sites, OPC suggests generally people should check their settings on more than one occasion because sites “regularly modify their privacy settings.” The Commissioner adds that people have the right to change their settings and for services that Google and Microsoft offer on different platforms (maps apps or location services) people should coordinate their settings “so they remain the same even if you are using different devices.”
OPC also suggests consumers read the Frequently Asked Questions page of sites to learn about privacy tools and to always ask questions if your answers have not been answered.
On social media sites, OPC suggests people should review their privacy settings especially when it comes to uploading images and getting tagged.
“Review and set your preferences so that information is shared only with those you intend to share it with,” OPC said, adding that users should also turn off or limit location tracking and location settings.
“Think about whether this is essential to the service, and whether you need to enable it. If it isn’t essential, turn it off,” OPC says.
Similarly, for mobile devices, OPC says to look into services related to location, which it says can be adjusted for use only when using a specific app.
“Turn off these options if they aren’t needed to use the app, and close your apps when you’re not using them to further limit information sharing,” OPC says, adding users should also consider deleting apps that are no longer being used.
OPC also suggests taking advantage of the lock and password protection features of your phone will “help prevent other people from using it or being able to see the personal information on it.”
You can go to the OPC website to get more details on how you can protect yourself when going online.