Don’t Make Toast of Your Data

Do you know what happens to your privacy when you Google “funny cat videos”? or what IP in ‘IP address’ stands for? and whether you should block ‘cookies’ or eat them? If you’ve answered (or even considered for a moment) ‘no’ to one or more of these questions you must answer ‘yes’ to the question; “Is your online data vulnerable?”

Awareness of your online privacy is vital these days, especially with more connected devices. Consequently, the more devices with access to networks, the greater the chance your personal details can be exposed.

Your data is toast!

Recently, the world experienced the most far-reaching cyber-attack we’ve ever known. The source was not computers; it was home appliances!

Like it or not, the ‘Internet of Things’ will soon be connecting your washing machine and oven online too.

The benefits of connecting appliances to the internet is not for you. It’s for manufacturers. Oh, of course, you can be emailed by a robot to tell you it’s ready for a service. But, you already get this information sent to you.

The reason appliances are being connected is so companies can gather user behavior. As with store loyalty cards, they can sell this information – your data – on.

If you love toast, await the promotional emails for discounts on bread, weight loss club membership as well as from competitor appliance manufacturers.

Securing your appliance’s data in the name of compliance

Exposed data leaves you potentially in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation 2016/679).

Any digital device, App or online interaction makes you vulnerable if you’re not smart.  Your data is gold in the wrong hands and you are leaving it everywhere; leaving it as exposed and vulnerable as a purse on a restaurant table or a laptop on a train.


By now, everyone should know that when we talk about cookies, we’re not talking about chocolate coated delights. We’re talking but the ‘small files’ that embed themselves in your computer.

Designed to hold a modest amount relating to data specific to a particular client and website, cookies can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer to allow a webpage to “remember” your browsing history and often, your browsing habits.

Whilst often this is convenient, it can also be a recipe for your disaster. To further complicate matters, not all are ‘tracing’ cookies. Some are vital to the display and performance of the webpage you’re on!

Every webpage is now legally bound (they have their own European Directive (ePrivacy Directive 2002/58/EC) to have a cookie privacy policy, at the minimum giving you the option to consent to the use of cookies.

This directive is focused on the ‘Internet of Things’ and is currently under review. It carries fines equally large to those of the GDPR (focused on the general data processing activities and the protection of them), so if you have a website, be sure that you’re compliant.

Have you ever wondered why that Mercedes or Netflix ad keeps popping up?

Cookies are fast becoming a ‘so yesterday’ tool. Cross-device tracking is taking over because it is not limited in a mobile and app-driven environment.

In plain English, cross-device tracking is how platforms, marketing professionals, media owners and advertising agencies attempt to identify and target individual users on each of their devices. It is mostly used to deliver ads, to enable continuity of service for webpages, and to provide a means to authenticate user accounts, as the user switches device.

A recent study showed that an individual can swap between devices up to 21 times an hour and in theory, you can’t hide, but this is why the Digital Advertising Alliance has produced guidance on the principles of transparency.

Fashion Victims

wearable_techWearable technology is no longer a farfetched concept. Many of us wear an Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Fitbit, Google Glass (OK. Maybe not many of us!).

Each records very sensitive, personal and unique data to you. Basically, you are revealing your every movement – physically and online.

At the moment you are required to opt out. With the GDPR this will change, and it will have to be ‘opt-in’ by default.

Keep data-safe and data safe!